International Health News

Smoking ban doesn't reduce restaurant sales

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA. Exposure to secondhand or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a serious health hazard. The problem is particularly acute in restaurants which have been shielded from smoking bans long after public and office buildings were made smoke-free zones. The reason for exempting restaurants is the fear that prohibiting smoking might have a negative impact on sales. Scientists at the Northern Arizona University now provide convincing evidence that restaurant sales are not negatively affected by a smoking ban. Although smokers vociferously complain and threaten to boycott smoke-free restaurants it would appear that non-smokers increase their visits to restaurants if they are smoke-free. The researchers evaluated restaurant sales and total retail sales over a five-year period in Flagstaff which has a complete smoking ban and in two comparative cities with no restaurant smoking ban. Retail and restaurant sales data was also collected for the counties in which the study cities are located as well as for the State of Arizona as a whole. The survey period spanned 3.5 years prior to the enactment of the smoking ban in Flagstaff (June 1993) to 1.5 years after the ordinance became effective. A detailed statistical analysis of the collected data showed the following:

  • there was no significant difference in restaurant sales trends before and after June 1993 in any of the locations involved in the study;
  • the ratio of restaurant sales to total retail sales in Flagstaff did not change with the enactment of the smoking ban;
  • there were no significant changes in motel/hotel bookings in Flagstaff as a result of the ordinance.

The researchers conclude that prohibiting smoking in all Flagstaff restaurants had no effect on total restaurant sales.
Sciacca, John P. and Ratliff, Michael I. Prohibiting smoking in restaurants: effects on restaurant sales. American Journal of Health Promotion, Vol. 12, January/February 1998, pp. 176-84

category search
Keyword Search

My favourite Supplements

copyright notice