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New study strengthens push for smokefree pubs

Tuesday 25 February, 2003

A new study published today has strengthened the case for smokefree legislation to be extended to include all bars.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says the new study, published in the British Medical Journal's Tobacco Control publication, has good news for pubs and clubs.

'The important finding of this new research is that studies published around the world that use verifiable, objective data like sales and employment figures found smokefree policies have no negative impact.'

'However, studies which found smokefree policies have a negative economic impact were almost always funded by the tobacco industry, and were based mainly on opinions and predictions rather than hard data.'

'Unfortunately the tobacco industry has mislead the hospitality industry and the public. This study suggests that the industry has used very questionable research in attempts to alarm proprietors and scare off legislations contemplating smokefree policies in restaurants, bars and clubs'

'Indeed, this study revealed that two surveys funded by the tobacco industry which found that more people would attend smokefree venues were not released publicly.'

'Unfortunately for those workers who still have to endure smoky workplaces, the tobacco industry’s scaremongering has delayed the introduction of smokefree policies.'

'The most important thing to remember is that smokefree venues are healthier for staff and patrons, and the public health benefits need to be the main consideration.'

'We’ve seen tremendous progress on this issue recently, but no one should have to risk their health to go to work.'

'Making all indoor workplaces smokefree as quickly as possible should be a priority for employers and governments.'

Mr Harper said that recent reports of a downturn in gambling revenue in Victoria following the introduction of smokefree legislation need to be treated cautiously.

'After only 5 months it’s just too early to tell whether the reported drop in gambling revenue is solely the result of the new policy, or if it’s permanent.'

'It’s not surprising that there would be a short term effect, but it’s too soon to say if this effect will be long term.'

ends

A copy of the study Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke free policies on the hospitality industry can be found at http://press.psprings.co.uk/tc/march/tc022154.pdf

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