Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Smoking Restrictions Benefit Businesses

Source: Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger
May 6, 2001

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 the clubs.


InfoImagination © 2001 -- All Rights Reserved