May 19, 2010

Smoking ban has increased business in Michigan bars and restaurants

It’s been less than three weeks since the workplace smoking ban that includes Michigan’s bars and restaurants went into effect on May 1, but dire predictions of people staying away and bars and restaurants going out of business are proving to be untrue, as expected.

Lobbyists against the ban, like the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) and the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA), predicted disaster, despite results and studies that showed business was not hurt. It appears that the predictions of a drop in business were not only false, but many bars and restaurants are actually reporting an increase in business.

The Advisor and Source Newspaper serving Macomb County is reporting bars are seeing an increase in business.
Bobby Walker, the night manager at Snooker’s in Utica, said he’s had former smoking customers return to his bar, after disappearing years ago. Often when a smoking customer quits cigarettes, they tend to avoid places of temptation. Since the ban, a few faces have returned.
“It was nice to see,” Walker said. “Our business hasn’t changed and I don’t smoke so it doesn’t affect me. The biggest change is the air doesn’t smell. The smokers, so far, don’t seem to mind much going outside. But it hasn’t been too cold out.”

As predicted, smoke and smoking has kept more people home than the ban has kept smokers home. Since only 22 percent of Michigan residents smoke, they have little effect on the economy. As a former smoker, I can verify Mr. Walker’s statement that when I quit smoking, I stayed away from bars because of the temptation to smoke when I drank, and the amount I drank did not change; my smoking input doubled, at least.

Now you know why the tobacco industry was financing the MRA and the MLBA to carry on the fight against the smoking ban for them.

At Gator Jake’s in Sterling Heights, General Manager Mike Brooks said he noticed an immediate increase in patronage at the restaurant that’s been in business for more than a decade.
“The very next day we had more families coming in,” Brooks said. “When you have kids, you might avoid places if you think it’s going to be smoky. People were making (positive) comments instantly.”

Now that it has been proven, again, that a smoking ban does not hurt business, it’s time to go after the Detroit casinos that have an exception. Watch for that push to begin next month.


Chris said...

The news article that you are referring to is totally inaccurate. Snookers is not a bar, but an entertainment venue where people take their kids.
Bars are hurting terribly. I own a bar and grill. I have cut hours, laid off workers, and am using my savings to pay the bills.
The name of my business is The Fire Escape Bar and Grill and is located in Fostoria MI. It has always done well. For 14 years I have worked very hard. The building has lost its value, due to the economy and now my business is going under. I made $10.00 on Monday.
The smoking ban was intended to protect workers from second hand smoke. What about the casino workers? Don't they count?
When the sales taxes are due for May (June 15th) Michigan will realize what they did.
All my distributors are hurting also. This ban was very bad for business.

Communications guru said...

Well, I have heard Snooker’s advertised on sport’s radio as a sports bar, but I’ll take your word for it.

How about Gator Jake’s in Sterling Heights? That’s not a bar? How about Roger’s Roost in Sterling Heights? That’s not a bar?

This law is not only good for business; it’s good for the public health. How can 22 percent of the population have so much economic clout? Again, a smoking ban does not affect your intake of alcohol, but it cuts down on your intake of cigarettes.

Quit smoking benefits said...

The Michigan Senate today approved a bill that would make the state the 38th to ban smoking in public places. The ban, which would take effect in May 2010, would apply to all bars and restaurants, although it left exemptions for some casinos and cigar bars.

The present version of the bill simply needs to be passed by the state House and signed by Governor Jennifer Granholm, both of whom support such a ban. The House actually passed a similar ban earlier in the year, making their approval more of a formality than anything.

Banning smoking in public places is a cause that always provokes mixed reactions, and Michigan is no exception. As usual, many business owners are speaking out against the ban, saying it denies them the right to decide on their own what the rules for their establishments should be.
Quit Smoking Benefits

Anonymous said...

Here in Chicago, as the first full winter of the ban approached, many small neighborhood bars had to decide to allow smoking, or close. The first partial winter was devastating.

Ann said...

What polls are you getting this info from (a nonsmoker poll). They are inaccurate. I also note that the blogs on this are correcting the businesses you did cite. I would like an accurate poll of business owners statewide, from an unbiased source. We are only at the end of May and I have already witnessed two bar closings. What is happening is people are staying home. Also, the sidewalks are crowded with restaurant and bar patrons standing outside. That is an accurate eyewitness account. But I guess a positive way to look at it is the smokers are spending less money.

Communications guru said...

I don’t see mention of a poll in the post, just an article, and I provided a link.

As for an unbiased poll, all you need to do is click on the label “smoking ban” at the bottom, and you will see numerous studies and results from the 37 other states that have smoking bans.

Please excise me if I am skeptical your claims of bars closing because of smoking bans. I also have eyewitness accounts, and the bars and restaurants are crowded.

Smokers may be spending less money, but what they are spending less money on is cigarettes. I’ve asked every skeptic how less than 22 percent of the population who still smokes can have so much economic effect. I’m still waiting for an answer. It was not so long ago that it was not acceptable for people to smoke inside, but the tobacco companies spent billons of dollars to change that.

It appears billions well spent.

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