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New study shows smoking bans have not harmed hotels

Wednesday 25 June, 2003

The case for Victoria's bars to go smokefree has gained further weight following the release of a new study showing smoking bans have not harmed business in New York hotels and restaurants.

Quit Victoria said the research provides more evidence for the Victorian Government to extend current smokefree legislation to all pubs and clubs. Currently, state governments in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT are proposing pubs go smokefree.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says a study published in the June 2003 issue of the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly* shows smokefree dining regulations in New York State were not associated with adverse economic outcomes in the state's restaurants and hotels.

The study assessed changes in taxable sales and employment in restaurants and hotels in five locations in New York State that have implemented smokefree dining regulations since 1995. The authors conclude that business managers should welcome the opportunity to protect the health of their workers and patrons by going smokefree - without fear of lost patronage or revenue.

On May 1 this year, New York City extended its smokefree laws to cover all bars and nightclubs.

Mr Harper says the new study adds further weight to the push to extend smoking bans to all Victorian bars and clubs.

'Here is yet another study that shows that the doom and gloom claims by some elements of the hospitality industry that smoking bans will harm business are based on fear, not objective facts'

'Research has shown that 63% of Victorians would support a ban on smoking in pubs.'

'Extending smokefree legislation to include pubs would make our pubs and clubs more enjoyable places for the 80% of Victorians who don’t smoke, and of course create safe working environments for the staff who work there.

Mr Harper says the benefits of extending Victoria’s current smokefree legislation to pubs and clubs include safer workplaces, reduced risks of litigation from people with illnesses caused by exposure to other people’s cigarette smoke, and lower costs for cleaning and air conditioning of smoke-filled air.

* Hyland, A et al, 'New York’s smoke-free regulations: effects on employment and sales in the hospitality industry' in Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, June 2003, 9-16 at www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/publications/hraq/feature/pdf/nysmokefree.pdf

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Zoe Furman
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