The Impact of Smoke-Free Laws on Businesses in Ellisville, Mississippi

The health benefits of smoke-free laws are well-documented, but what about their impact on businesses? Studies have consistently shown that anti-smoking laws have no adverse effect on business activity. For instance, a study of New York City's 1995 Smoke-Free Air Act found that restaurant employment growth was three times higher than the rest of the state from 1993 to 1997.


Another study examined sales tax revenues in 15 cities with and without ordinances prohibiting smoking in restaurants from 1986 to 1993 and found that anti-smoking ordinances had no negative effect on restaurant sales.


Similarly, a study of Flagstaff, Arizona found that gross restaurant sales increased between 16% and 25.8% per company for one year after an anti-smoking ordinance was implemented.


Other studies focusing on bar revenues and tourism have also demonstrated no adverse effect of smoking ordinances.


A recent study on the anti-smoking ordinance in El Paso, Texas found no change in restaurant or bar revenues when comparing sales tax and mixed drink tax data for the 12 years before and one year after the law was implemented.


Reviews of this literature by Sciacca and Eckrem8 and Scollo et al9 have also concluded that smoking bans do not harm businesses. Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, that prohibit smoking tobacco in certain spaces. The United States Congress has not attempted to enact any type of federal ban on smoking in workplaces and public places at the national level. Therefore, such policies are completely a product of state and local laws.

To determine if the anti-smoking law in Ellisville, Mississippi had any effect on employment in restaurants and bars, we examined data from six counties adjacent to Ellisville. We found no significant effect in any case.


Numerous studies have revealed that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution and that breathing second-hand smoke (also known as ambient tobacco smoke) can cause serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and lung cancer. Following an assessment of the health hazards of Las Vegas casino employees' exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace, which included indoor air quality testing and biomarker evaluations, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded that casino employees are exposed to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke at work and that their bodies absorb high levels of specific tobacco chemicals (NNK) and cotinine during work shifts. Business owners have no legal or constitutional right to expose their employees and customers to the toxic chemicals in second-hand smoke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the risk of acute myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease associated with exposure to tobacco smoke is not linear at low doses, but increases rapidly with relatively small doses, such as those received by second-hand smoke or by actively smoking one (or two) cigarettes a day.

The CDC has warned that all patients with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or with known coronary artery disease should avoid all indoor environments that allow smoking. More and more Mississippi cities are voting to go smoke-free every year, recognizing the value it brings to residents and visitors. The findings of this research are important for anti-smoking initiatives both inside and outside the United States. In states like Oklahoma and Virginia where local governments are prohibited from regulating smoking more strictly than the state, these findings can help inform policy decisions. In conclusion, numerous studies have shown that smoke-free laws have no negative impact on businesses. This is true for restaurants, bars, tourism, as well as other industries.

Furthermore, these laws protect employees from dangerous levels of second-hand smoke exposure while also protecting customers from potential health risks associated with smoking.

Delores Clower
Delores Clower

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