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.