Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Smoke-free Ordinances Don't Hurt Business, Says New Study

A new study released by the UW-Madison Carbone Cancer Center found that hospitality businesses saw no negative economical impacts as a result of smoke-free ordinances in the years following implementation.

The study focused on Madison, Appleton, Eau Claire, Marshfield and Fond du Lac, cities with smoke-free ordinances. From 2005 to 2009, researchers analyzed changes in the number of alcohol licenses issued, employment in sub-sectors of the hospitality industry, the number of establishments, and citations for violations of the city ordinances. After comparing the data to cities without smoke-free ordinances, researchers found no adverse economic effects throughout the hospitality industry, including bars and taverns.

In addition, there were only three violations in five cities over the course of the research, according to the study. Researchers claim this suggests business owners did not find it more profitable to disobey the law and run the risk of citation fees.

This study tells us what we had been told by other states all along; over time, hospitality businesses, including bars and restaurants, are not negatively impacted as a result of smoke-free ordinances. Wisconsin's statewide smoke-free laws should see even more positive economical effects on businesses over time. 

We recognize it may take some individual customers and businesses time to adjust initially but this study shows that in the long-run, the hospitality industry performs as well as before implementation, if not better.

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