Source: Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger
by JULIE JETTE
May 6, 2001
STUDY: SNUFFING OUT CIGARETTES DOESN'T HURT RESTAURANT SALES
Restaurants in towns where smoking is banned from food
establishments have seen increased sales, according to a new
study of tax receipts in those communities.
While one restaurant owner in Hingham said he was forced to
close in mid-1999, five months after smoking was banned in
restaurants there, his place was an exception. Sales at
Hingham restaurants increased by 25 percent that year.
As more evidence mounts that a smoking ban helps
restaurant sales, the state's top health official said he is
leaning toward pushing for a statewide policy that would
snuff out cigarettes at food establishments.
"I think we're getting there," said Dr. Howard Koh,
commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public
Health. . .
Every town that enacted a ban did so under the protest of
restaurant owners. They insisted they would lose customers to
restaurants in other towns if they forced smokers to
extinguish their cigarettes and cigars.
A study, which was criticized because it was partly
funded by an anti-smoking group, shows, however, that
restaurants have sold more food in towns where smoking is
banned. The Center for Health Economics Research in Waltham analyzed
town meals tax data for 239 communities from 1992 through
1998 to compare results among towns with and without smoking
bans. It determined that communities that banned smoking saw
receipts increase slightly more than towns that didn't.
The study, paid for in part by the Massachusetts Tobacco
Control Program, concluded that it couldn't credit the bans
for improving business, but that clearly they had not stifled
growth. . .
What frosts Kershaw and other Plymouth restaurant owners
the most about the new regulations is that private clubs are
exempt from the bans. They're not worried about losing
smokers to other towns; they're worried about losing them to
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