May 29, 2009
U of M study concludes a workplace smoking ban will not hurt business
Another study was just released that puts to rest the myth that a workplace smoking ban, including bars and restaurants, will result in a drop in business and a loss of jobs.
The University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study on Thursday that concluded the state's bars and restaurants would not be hurt by a proposed workplace smoking ban. The study said “in economic terms, most high-quality research finds that smoking bans have not had negative effects on the revenues of restaurants and bars.”
The most opposition to the workplace smoking ban has come from industry groups like the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) and the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) who make the false claim that a ban will cost jobs to their members.
The MLBA has been very vocal about their opposition, citing debunked studies to make their claim. But the U of M study concluded that “many of the studies finding negative effects were either conducted by organizations with links to the tobacco industry or funded by the tobacco industry or industry groups supported by the tobacco industry.”
But most surprising was that Andy Deloney, vice president of public affairs for the Michigan Restaurant Association, was quoted in subscription only Gongwer as saying agreed there would be increases in statewide restaurant sales after a smoking ban was implemented. He has been one of the most vocal critics of the ban, testifying in committees and widely quoted in news reports.
"Almost every single year in every single state total statewide restaurant sales go up," he was quoted as saying.
Other studies have also concluded the ban will not hurt business, such as the Indiana University Center for Health Policy, Grand Valley State University and Public Sector Consultants Inc. report “Smokefree workplaces: The Impact of House Bill 4163 on the Restaurant and Bar Industry in Michigan.”
The effects on casinos are a little more mixed, and part of that problem is because there is little data available. Delaware is one of the few states that have data available. The report concluded “two of the three studies found that the Delaware smoking ban negatively affected revenue at Delaware’s three racinos.”
“On the other hand, a study analyzing the impact of smoke-free ordinances in Massachusetts on gambling sponsored by charitable organizations, such as bingo, found that such ordinances did not affect gambling revenue.”
The fact is no one can explain how just 22 percent of the population who still smoke can have such an economic effect. Most gamblers who are bothered by smoke go across the Detroit River to the Windsor casinos where smoking is banned.
The health effects of deadly secondhand smoke are undisputed, and the study concluded “Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke. The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), housed at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, conducts and supports applied policy research designed to inform state, local, and urban policy issues. Through integrated research, teaching, and outreach involving academic researchers, students, policymakers and practitioners, CLOSUP seeks to foster understanding of today’s state and local policy problems, and to find effective solutions to those problems.