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Statewide Smoke-free Law Would Not Hurt Indiana Restaurant and Bar Business

by Anne S. on Thursday, August 8, 2013

There is one more reason we should make ALL workplaces smokefree in Indiana, including restaurants and bars!  Check out the news release below from a recent study by the CDC.

INDIANAPOLIS —Smoke-free restaurants and bar laws are good for health, and a new study published in the scientific journal Preventing Chronic Disease finds that a statewide smoke-free law would not be expected to harm the restaurant and bar industry. This conclusion is based on an aggregate analysis of all the available data from local jurisdictions in the nine studied states, which included Indiana.  

The study, made possible by a partnership grant to the CDC Foundation from Pfizer Inc, analyzed the potential impact of a statewide smoke-free law on employment and taxable sales revenues in nine states—Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. For North Carolina, the study examined the impact of a 2010 statewide smoke-free restaurant and bar law. The other eight states each have a number of communities with local smoke-free restaurant and/or bar ordinances, but no statewide smoke-free law.  Data analyzed were from 2000 to 2010.

“Our research found that smoke-free laws do not have a negative economic impact on aggregate restaurant or bar employment or revenues,” said Brett Loomis, a research economist at RTI International and lead author of the study. “Our findings suggest that a statewide smoke-free law in the states examined would not be expected to have an adverse economic impact on restaurants and bars in those states.”

The results of this new study are consistent with the results of previous peer-reviewed studies indicating that smoke-free laws do not have a negative economic effect on hospitality venues.  This study is unique in that it is the largest of its kind, aggregating all the available data from local jurisdictions in the nine states included in the study. These results are especially notable, because the data come from states with high smoking rates and traditions of tobacco growing and manufacturing.

“Smoke-free laws save lives, and this study is further proof that they don’t hurt business,” said Lindsay Grace, campaign coordinator of Tobacco Free Indiana.  “Indiana’s smoke-free air law is a first step but many workers continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke on the job and in public places.  We urge local communities to take action and protect workers in more hospitality venues, such as bars, clubs and casinos."

The study complements a video featuring restaurant and bar owners from Indiana, who reported that despite initial reservations, they have come to appreciate the benefits of going smoke-free. Their testimonials share personal experiences with smoke-free laws from a business perspective.

“Our restaurant and bar owners are a vital part of our community. That’s what makes this report so exciting. Some owners have expressed concerns about the possible economic impact of smoke-free laws – this new study can help put those fears to rest,” added Grace.

Secondhand smoke—the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers—contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that cause cancer. Prohibiting smoking in bars and restaurants protects the health of employees and patrons and provides a clean atmosphere where customers can appreciate the taste and aromas of their meals.

A survey of Marion County residents found that 78 percent favor the one-year-old smoke-free ordinance that covers bars and restaurants.  Allowing smoking has hidden financial costs including higher cleaning and maintenance costs and increased sick days among employees.

Smoke-free laws have been passed in 19 communities in Indiana that make all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, 100 percent smoke-free. The health benefits of those laws produced immediate dividends. In Marion County, a study earlier this year showed a 95 percent drop in indoor particle pollution at venues that went smoke-free after a new ordinance was passed.

The smoke-free videos may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/smokefreebusiness.  More information about secondhand smoke is available at www.breatheindiana.com

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