May 30, 2008
Another report proves a smoking ban is good for business
The evidence keeps piling up that a workplace ban, including bars and restaurants, will be a good thing for public health and will help business and not hurt it.
Grand Valley State University marketing professors Frederic Kraft and Suzeanne Benet have just concluded a study that shows non-smokers are more likely to go to a place that bans smoking and it’s less likely that a smoker will not go to a place simply because it bans smoking. It also voiced what most people already know or suspect: the interests of non-smokers should take the lead. If less than a quarter of the population smokes, why do we believe so few people carry so much clout, and why do we allow a small minority to endanger so many people’s health?
According to the Business Review Western Michigan, Kraft said non-smokers are "…more likely to take their business elsewhere if smoking is not effectively regulated, if not banned altogether.” This is in sharp contrast to the small, vocal minority who threaten to no longer go to a bar of they cannot light up inside.
It is also clear that groups who oppose it, like the Michigan Restaurant Association, are getting money from tobacco companies. Benet hinted at that in subscription only MIRS. "It appears that the voiced displeasure of a relatively small number of smokers has been unduly amplified by representatives of the tobacco industry,” she said. “This study indicates that smoking restrictions make a much greater difference to non-smokers than to smokers, and the impact of smoking on non-smokers should be the primary concern of hospitality industry decision-makers."
Earlier this week, the House approved a substitute to House Bill 5074 that banned smoking in workplaces, with the exception of non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.” Earlier this month the Senate approved HB 4163 that was much more stringent and had no exceptions or so-called carve outs.
The GVSU report is the second report this month to be released that bolsters the fight to make Michigan smoke free. Earlier this month the leading Lansing research firm Public Sector Consultants Inc. released a report called “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan” that summarized 43 other studies and six public health reports across North America that have examined the economic and health aspects of banning workplace smoking in some form. The report concluded that "the vast majority" concluded there is no net economic impact on bars and restaurants. It also included polls showing increasing public support for bans, with support even stronger after bans have been enacted.
It’s unclear when the ban will be taken up by the Senate. Majority Leader Mike Bishop is a fierce opponent of the ban, and he kept the original bill bottled up in committee for months until overwhelming public support for the ban forced him to allow a vote. He may let it die in committee again and say he only promised one vote on the bill not two. However, the crowd at the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday let him know in no uncertain terms they support the ban.
According to subscription only Gongwer, “Bishop drew a pretty harsh reaction from the crowd for arguing freedom of choice in smoking.
When he proclaimed that people have the choice whether to patronize places that allow smoking, members of the audience asked about the choices of those who work in those places. "It's a small number of people,” he said. These people have the opportunity to choose where they want to work," he said to boos from many in the crowd.”