Monday, January 24, 2011

Smoking ban has minimal effect on bar revenues after two years

Posted by on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Turns out that banning smoking doesn't drag down business.
  • Turns out that banning smoking doesn't drag down business.

More than two years after Kansas City banished smokers from restaurants and bars, establishment owners can't complain about lost revenue. Well, they can, but they'll be whining about a made-up problem.

The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City says a study it funded and conducted  by University of Illinois-Chicago economics professors John Tauras and Frank

J. Chaloupka shows that people still went out to eat and tip a few, even if they had to go outside to smoke. And the air inside the smoke-free restaurants is much better.



The study looked at taxable sales in cities larger than 25,000 people in

Missouri and Kansas from 2000 through March 2010 and discovered that

the pre-ban and post-ban numbers were unchanged in Kansas City.

It appears that smokers didn't decide to just stay home eating, drinking and

chain-smoking in their living rooms. "As expected, we find that taxable sales

in restaurants and bars are

strongly, positively related to overall economic conditions, with sales

rising as overall economic activity increases and vice versa," Dr. Chaloupka told the Health Care Foundation.

So if you're broke, you're not going to be wining and dining regardless of smoking policies. And if you have money crying out to be spent, you're not going to stay away from municipalities that don't allow smoking.

The Health Care Foundation paid for a second study looking into air

quality in the saloons in KCK, which fell under the smoking ban that the Legislature approved last July. Not surprisingly, it found

that the air in bars and restaurants now is, like, waaayyy better now

than it was when you could smoke. The air quality went from "unhealthy"

to "good."

Still, this news probably won't stop smokers or tavern owners from

complaining about smoking bans.The rowdy anti-ban folks will always have the constitutional/civil liberties argument to fall back on.

Home page image via Flickr: curran.kelleher

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