Many studies have revealed that anti-smoking laws implemented in American cities do not have a negative effect on business activity. For instance, one article showed that New York City's 1995 Smoke-Free Air Act had no adverse impact on restaurant employment growth, which was three times higher than the rest of the state from 1993 to 1997. A study examining sales tax revenues in 15 cities with and without ordinances prohibiting smoking in restaurants from 1986 to 1993 found that anti-smoking ordinances did not adversely affect restaurant sales. Similarly, Sciacca and Eckrem discovered that gross restaurant sales in Flagstaff, Arizona, 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 demonstrated no negative effect of smoking ordinances on income. A recent study on the anti-smoking ordinance in El Paso, Texas - the strictest anti-smoking law in that state - 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. The Surgeon General has concluded that adopting smoke-free labor policies is a wise business decision.
The results of all credible peer-reviewed studies show that anti-smoking policies and regulations do not have a detrimental impact on business revenues. Establishing smoke-free workplaces is the simplest and most cost-effective way to improve the health of workers and businesses. On April 27, 2004, after an unsuccessful legal challenge, Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky, implemented a 100% smoke-free ordinance that banned smoking in all public buildings, including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, and other businesses. To determine if the anti-smoking law had an adverse economic effect on restaurants or bars in Lexington, Kentucky, researchers examined average employment before and after the law was implemented. The results showed no significant association between anti-smoking laws and economic outcomes in restaurants and bars in seven out of eight states studied. In West Virginia, restaurant employment increased by a significant 1% following the implementation of a law on smoke-free restaurants.
The results of this study are important for anti-smoking initiatives in places inside and outside the U. S. who have high rates of smoking. In summary, the results suggest that anti-smoking laws did not have an adverse economic impact on restaurants or bars in any of the states studied, but instead provided a small economic benefit in one state. Establishing smoke-free workplaces is an effective way to improve public health without negatively impacting businesses.