Dec 6, 2009

Opponents of workplace smoking ban rolling out debunked studies again

With news that the workplace smoking ban, that includes bars and restaurants, may move in the Michigan Legislature this week, opponents of the ban are ramping up efforts to put out their false information to kill what 38 other state already have.

The operator’s of Detroit’s three casinos planted a story in the Detroit News on Friday that claims a ban will take away nearly a third of their revenues -- “and tax payments to Detroit and the state” unless they are exempted by the ban. They go on to claim that the “city and state could lose up to $93.1 million a year in taxes.” As proof they offer - well, absolutely nothing.

They claim that. “The effects of a smoking ban on casinos already have been felt across the Detroit River at Caesars Windsor, where business suffered because of a three-year-old ban on smoking, casino officials have said.” But in the only part of the article that even attempts to balance the article, it admits that, “The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. hasn't released direct figures showing the full impact of the ban.” So, they are basing their claim on nothing.

In an unbiased study released by the Indiana University Center for Health Policy in March called “The Economic Impact of Smoke-free Policies on Business and Health” concluded that a smoking ban shows no negative revenue impact on sales and gaming receipts.

Study after study has also shown that smoking bans do not have a negative effect on business in bars and restaurants, and the last one came from another unbiased source, the University of Michigan. In May, the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy released a study 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.”

We also have the results from the 38 other states with a ban as well as the numerous other countries with a ban.

What we do know is that the air in Detroit casinos have indoor pollution levels that are at least eight times higher than outdoor air, and that community smoking bans have an immediate and dramatic effect on reducing heart attacks.

A press conference with business groups opposed to the workplace smoking ban is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Rrossman Group in Lansing, and I can bet two of those groups will be the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) and the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) that has been using debunked studies to make the false claim that a smoking ban will hurt business and cost jobs.

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