Key Researchers

  • Studies show that businesses in the hospitality industry do not lose jobs or taxable revenue when smoke-free policies are implemented (Scollo et al. 2003; Hyland and Cummings 1999a, 1999b; Hyland et al. 1999a, 2003; Bartosch and Pope 1999, 2002; Frieden et al. 2005; Cowling and Bond 2005; Biener and Fitzgerald 1999).

    In 2003, a review by Scollo et al. found 97 studies that have explored the economic impact of smoke-free regulations on bars, restaurants, and other "hospitality venues." These studies were conducted in communities, states and countries around the world and have considered a wide range of community characteristics.

    When the most scientifically rigorous studies were considered, all 21 of these reports concluded that smoke-free regulations do not cause adverse economic outcomes to the hospitality industry. In contrast, every single report that concluded smoke-free regulations were bad for business was funded by the tobacco industry or an agency with ties to the tobacco industry. No study sponsored by the tobacco industry met all of the standards for scientific rigor (Scollo et al. 2003). The Scollo et al. paper remains the most comprehensive review of economic impact studies, although this analysis is being updated (as of July 2009), and updated results should be available in the future.

    Studies of taxable sales and employment show business remains unchanged in restaurants (Hyland and Cummings 1999a; Hyland et al. 1999a, 2000, 2003; Bartosch and Pope 1999, 2002). More recent articles exploring bars have replicated the finding of Scollo et al. that bars do not suffer significant losses in business after the adoption of smoke-free environments (Frieden et al. 2005; Cowling and Bond 2005; Alamar and Glantz 2007). Less is known about the potential economic impact of smoke-free policies in gaming establishments due to their limited and only recent inclusion in some smoke-free policies.

    Consumer studies provide a possible explanation for the findings. Smokers still patronize the same bars and restaurants after smoke-free rules are implemented. Although some smokers report going out to eat less frequently or spending less money per visit, this change is offset by the fact that some nonsmokers report going out more frequently or spending more money per visit (Hyland and Cummings 1999a; Biener and Fitzgerald 1999). The overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence in this area shows clearly that the hospitality economy has not suffered adverse economic consequences in the wake of regulations.



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