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Study: Smoking bans do not cause job losses in bars and restaurants
Date:5/18/2009

Over the 45-month period studied, there was relatively little change in employment levels in bars and restaurants among the communities examined. None of the changes met statistical standards required to determine that the differences increases or decreases were significant. The estimated changes also cut both ways in any economic argument about the effects of smoking restrictions.

For example, communities with comprehensive clean indoor air policies had nearly nine fewer employees per 10,000 community members compared to communities with partial smoking bans that exempted bars. On the other hand, communities with any type of clean indoor air policy, partial or comprehensive, had an increase of three employees per 10,000 compared to cities with no tobacco restrictions on the books.

Seasonal trends in employment were related to the effects of severe winter weather in Minnesota, especially in larger cities, and the marked loss of jobs in one community was traced to a closure of three businesses that were failing because of their location, Klein noted.

"We certainly did not detect anything close to the dramatic claims that opponents make based on the concerns that they have for bars," Klein said. "We were not studying individual businesses. We're studying the effect of a policy implemented at a community level."

Klein noted that the study did not use revenue data, another strong economic indicator, because statewide reports of revenues in Minnesota were not readily available. And she said employment trends in the hospitality industry closely match revenues because hospitality businesses operate in a volatile market.

The findings are an important part of the continuing debate over clean indoor air policies, Klein said, because "once a clean indoor air policy is on the docket and discussion begins, oftentimes the conversation quickly turns to economics."

She also said she doesn't expect opposition to smoking
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Contact: Elizabeth Klein
eklein@cph.osu.edu
614-292-5424
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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