Dear Restaurant Owner or Manager
I am writing you because my friends,
family and I like your restaurant. We like your food and the service you
provide. Yet we are sad that you and your management team are not fully
informed about the dangers to workers and patrons because of second-hand
Second-hand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death in
the U.S., killing an estimated 70,000 nonsmokers every year. Food service
workers appear to be 50% more likely than the general population to develop
lung cancer -- largely because many of them are exposed to second-hand smoke
on the job. Teen workers are more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke
on the job than any other employee age cohort.
Second-hand smoke contains over 4,700 chemicals, over 200 poisons and
over 50 human carcinogens. The poisons in cigarette smoke include carbon
monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and methyl isocyanate. The carcinogens in cigarette
smoke include benzo[a]pyrene and NNK, which cause lung cancer; nitrosamines,
which cause cancer of the lung, respiratory system, and other organs; aromatic
amines, which cause bladder and breast cancer; formaldehyde, which causes
nasal cancer; and benzene, which causes leukemia.
I'm not sure that you are aware that studies show that smoking bans in
restaurants in New York City and Massachusetts have not witnessed negative
effects to overall sales. These studies were recently published in the January
1999 issue of the JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH MANAGEMENT AND PRACTICE.
This research shows that contrary to the fears of many restaurant owners,
bans on smoking have actually resulted in increased business and revenue.
The studies also demonstrate that although some smoking customers did refrain
from patronizing the restaurants, overall business increased because nonsmokers
dined more frequently.
In another study, the restaurant management found that the ban on smoking
reduced the number of people who came in just to have a cup of coffee and
a smoke. Smoking patrons stayed longer and purchased less, on average, when
compared to nonsmoking customers. With the ban on smoking, the restaurant
found both an increase in table turnover and an increase in total purchases
by their customers. The result was an increase in overall revenue for the
Many restaurants have tried separating smokers and nonsmokers, but this
rarely works. Having a separate section for smoking does not eliminate exposure
to second-hand smoke. You can't put chlorine in half a swimming pool and
you can't keep smoke in half a restaurant.
It makes sense to ban smoking in your restaurant. While you protect the
health of both your workers and customers, you are rewarded with higher
revenues. In general, smokers respect such decisions. Most smokers wish
they could quit. Maybe your change in policy will help them.
Thank you for your time and the consideration about the health of your
workers and customers.