FENTON TOWNSHIP, MI -- Bars and restaurants are 250% more likely to lose sales than gain them after smoking bans are imposed, according to a new study by the Michigan Restaurant Association. Michigan's statewide smoking ban was extended to bars and restaurants on May 1.
About 57% of location owners in the MRA survey said sales changed due to the new law. Specifically, 42.4% said they lost sales, while 14.8% reported sales and traffic increases. Some 43% of location owners said sales were unaffected.
By almost equally lopsided numbers, location owners say customer traffic has also been hurt by the smoking ban. In particular, 41.2% of locations say traffic is down, while 16% say it's up since the ban went into effect.
MRA president Bob Gifford said the study offers decisive refutation to claims by smoking ban proponents that no-smoking policies generate more business for locations. "This clearly has not happened," Gifford said.
This hasn't stopped some supporters of the smoking ban from trying to call the new policy a success, MRA said. However, the association noted that 55% of its members oppose the smoking ban. The MRA survey can be viewed here.