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Many Americans Ambivalent Over Laws Aimed at Healthy Living
Date:3/21/2012

ng on cellphones while driving (70 percent supporting, 43 percent strongly supporting); requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets (82 percent supporting, 57 percent strongly supporting); requiring cyclists to wear helmets (73 percent supporting, 42 percent strongly supporting); and the mandate to wear seat belts (86 percent in favor, 66 percent strongly in favor).

Respondents also backed up many nutrition-related measures, such as those requiring eating establishments to reveal nutritional information on menus (78 percent supporting, 34 percent strongly supporting); regulations in the offing to reduce the salt content of packaged food (68 percent supporting, 27 percent strongly supporting); and eliminating unhealthy trans fats in restaurants (62 percent in favor, 26 percent strongly in favor).

The regular round of childhood vaccinations (mumps, measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis and polio) also received 86 percent positive votes with 55 percent strongly positive.

A smaller majority (61 percent) also favored giving the controversial human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine -- which shields against cervical and other cancers -- to children aged 11 and 12, and about one-quarter strongly supported the idea.

Banning smoking in restaurants and public places, a regulation which is gradually gaining ascendency in different regions of the United States, received 80 percent "pro" votes. Fifty-eight percent strongly supported these types of prohibitions.

Majorities did oppose three policies, however: employers citing obesity as a reason not to hire (76 percent opposed, 43 percent strongly opposed); employers not hiring smokers (65 percent opposed, 34 percent strongly opposed); and the taxing of sugar-sweetened soft drinks (62 percent against, 37 percent strongly against).

And even as they supported many individual initiatives aimed at protecting the public good, 81 percent of respondents agreed that individuals should take responsibili
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