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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 9, September 2010, Posted On: 9/4/2010

Smoking Bans Hurt Locations More Than They Help, Says Survey

Marcus Webb
smoking ban, Michigan smoking ban, tavern, bar, smoking ban effect on bar, Michigan Restaurant Association, smoking ban economic impact, vending news, coin-op news

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.

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