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      Survey Says... Grand Strand tourists prefer smoke free

      More than a dozen members of the North Myrtle Beach community met Tuesday afternoon to share results of a survey on smoking. The grassroots group calls itself Smoke Free North Myrtle Beach. The group plans to lobby the North Myrtle Beach city council and mayor to enact a smoking ban.

      "It makes you sick," Rose Cameron, a member of Smoke Free North Myrtle Beach said.

      The group heard the results from a survey Smoke Free Horry, a county-wide group, paid a third party to conduct.

      Equation Research interviewed 812 visitors in the study, George DuRant, a spokesman for Smoke Free Horry, said.

      "The survey found, people would rather go to smoke free resorts and we run the risk, this is very important, we run the risk of losing business to resorts that border us," he said.

      According to the survey:

      • 94% of those polled considered secondhand smoke a health hazard
      • 72% said it was important to them to dine in a restaurant or bar that is smoke free
      • 69% were more likely to select a vacation destination that has a smoke free law
      • 41% said a smoke free ordinance would make them think of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach as more family friendly.

      DuRant added that visitors said they were more likely to visit nearby resort cities like Charleston, Hilton Head, or Wilmington that have smoking bans in place.