Objectives: To examine the congruence in perceptions and attitudes of legislators and the public regarding tobacco and tobacco control policies. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were used, one of elected federal and provincial legislators and one of adult residents in Ontario, Canada. Perceptions and attitudes were analyzed as dependent variables using multiple logistic regression, and adjusted for age, sex, educational attainment, and smoking status. Findings: Congruence was found in most instances, however, some differences were found. Legislators were more likely than the public to agree that most smokers are addicted and were more supportive of a smoking ban in workplaces, but these differences disappeared after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. Legislators were also more aware than the public of the magnitude of deaths due to tobacco compared to alcohol, whereas the public was more supportive of strong penalties against stores that sell cigarettes to minors. Conclusions: Our findings provide considerable evidence for congruence in the "real-world" (unadjusted) perceptions and attitudes of Ontario legislators and the Ontario public toward tobacco control policies. Such findings are positive for tobacco control advocates and should be leveraged to bring forward strong tobacco policies in the political arena.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health