COLUMBUS, Ohio New research suggests that exempting bars from community smoking bans makes no economic difference in terms of preserving bar employment, and that even the most comprehensive clean indoor air policies do not lead to a reduction in hospitality jobs.
Researchers hope the findings, based on a study in Minnesota, will factor into future debates within municipalities and states considering the economic and health issues surrounding smoking-ban proposals.
The study examined employment trends over three years in eight Minnesota cities with different types of clean indoor air policies and two cities with no laws restricting smoking. Of the policies examined, some were comprehensive bans prohibiting smoking in all workplaces, while others banned smoking in most public places and businesses, but exempted bars.
Though economic effects of smoking bans have been studied in many individual communities, this is the first analysis to compare the economic effects of different levels of clean indoor air policies in multiple cities.
"In the end we can say there isn't a significant economic effect by type of clean indoor air policy, which should give us more support for maintaining the most beneficial public health policies," said Elizabeth Klein, assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. "The public health benefit clearly comes from a comprehensive policy where all employees are protected from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, exposure to secondhand smoke increases nonsmokers' risks of developing lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory conditions and other diseases.
North Carolina and Wisconsin legislatures passed smoking ban bills last week. As of April 20, 2009, 15 states plus Puerto Rico had comprehensive laws in effect prohibiting smoking in all workplaces, rest
|Contact: Elizabeth Klein|
Ohio State University