Smoke bans won’t affect patronage

Sunday 20 January, 2002

Victorians are ready to support smokefree pubs, clubs, gambling venues and nightclubs, according to research released today.

Quit Victoria said the research effectively quashed unfounded claims by the Australian Hotels Association that smokefree legislation would be bad for business.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Todd Harper said even a study by tobacco giant Philip Morris predicted patrons would be more likely to go to venues if they went smokefree.

Mr Harper said a study by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, has found that

  • 86 % of those surveyed say a smoke ban would have no effect on the likelihood of going to poker machines
  • 72% say a ban would have no effect on the likelihood of going to a bar; and
  • 84% say a ban would have no effect on the likelihood of going to a nightclub.

The research also shows that if smoking bans were introduced, 10% of those surveyed would go to gaming venues and nightclubs more often and 20% would go to bars more often.

'So in fact, where people said smoking bans were likely to have an impact on their attendance, most were likely to go more often,' Mr Harper said.

In addition, a survey of public attitudes to smoking restrictions commissioned by tobacco giant Philip Morris, conducted in Victoria in January 2000, also shows that smoking restrictions in restaurants, hotel bars, gaming areas and night clubs would have little effect on patronage, and may in fact increase business.

The Philip Morris survey found that overall, smokefree venues appear to make people more likely to attend, and reveals strong support for smoking restrictions in hotel bars, nightclubs, and gaming areas, with:

  • 43% of people more likely to attend if hotel bars were smokefree, and 46% saying it would make no difference;
  • 35% of people more likely to attend if nightclubs were smokefree, and 54% saying restrictions would make no difference;
  • 39% per cent of people were more likely to attend if gaming venues were smokefree, and restrictions would make no difference to 51%.

'The findings of this research are consistent with the research conducted for the Australian Hotels Association and the tobacco industry.'

'A survey by the Australian Hotels Association of its patrons found the most common complaint from pub patrons was that pubs were too smoky,' Mr Harper said.

'Smoking bans haven't stopped people using public transport, eating out, or going to the MCG.'

'Smokefree pubs, clubs and gambling areas are unlikely to be any different.'

-ends-

Summary of research findings: Attitudes and behaviour in relation to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in cafes, pubs, clubs, and gambling areas among Victorian adults by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, conducted in June 2001.

Likelihood of going to play a poker machine if there was a total smoking ban in gaming venues -

No difference - 86%

Go more often - 10%

Go less often - 4%

Likelihood of going to a bar if there was a total smoking ban -

No difference - 72%

Go more often - 20%

Go less often - 8%

Likelihood of going to a nightclub if there was a total smoking ban -

No difference - 84%

Go more often - 10%

Go less often - 5%

Further information:

Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager
Quit Victoria