Smoke Free Horry survey hopes to put out opposition's fire

Since Smoke Free Horry began in March 2010, the group has said they want all indoor businesses to become smoke free.

The group says they want to protect the rights of individuals working in public smoking areas such as but not limited to restaurants and bars.

Tuesday, their survey showed an overwhelming majority of people agreed.

"In terms of the whole county, 99.1 percent said they strongly support or somewhat support that question that everyone has the right to breathe smoke free air at work," says Smoke Free Horry researcher Andy Pope.

That's nearly 100 percent in a county where 29 percent of adults smoke according to Smoke Free Horry.

But Pope, who led the survey, says the group polled random residents from each municipality in the county.

"We went to the community and asked if they would complete a brief survey for us that we had 850 people do."

Tuesday, Smoke Free Horry introduced the citizens group Healthy Horry that hopes to influence lawmakers to pass smoking ordinances. A goal thought to be the same as Smoke Free Horry, but Pope explains the group only educates and raises awareness about the effects of secondhand smoke.

"Healthy Horry came to us, for reasons that they thought we were not doing enough legislatively."

The federal government funds Smoke Free Horry with a two year grant, and because the group is solely federally funded, they can not lobby lawmakers.

"That's not what we're about," says Pope. "We're about educating the community and letting the citizens make the decision for themselves about what they want to happen."

He says the group also does not want to ban smoking completely.

"It's definitely not anything in your home. anything in your car, anything in outdoor public places it's just indoor public places only."