Intervention of negative economic effects of Virginia smoking ban

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Back in March 2009, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill banning smoking indoors which take effect on December 9, 2009.  There are conflicting reports on the economic impact of bills such as the one passed in Virginia.  In other states, there is evidence that this public health policy may hurt restaurants and bars . On the flip side, others say that there is actually a positive economic effect from smoking bans.  What is more clearly defined is the positive health affects that smoking bans have had in other states. 

However, lawmakers need to realize that making changes to address public health problems may create economic problems, regardless of how small or large those consequences may be.  Likely there are not many costs to making this switch, but at times where the economy is in recession, the government has to be cognizant that policy changes may adversely affect some businesses.  Funds could be put aside so that, if proof is given in terms of economic need to comply with the bill or that there was a temporary hit economically, assistance could be given.  In special needs cases, an application could be submitted for a subsidy to assist if there are adverse effects on businesses.  In terms of long term affects, I do not believe policy makers should be hesitant to pass smoking bans because of the economic consequences.  I do believe that assistance should be given to those establishments that comply with this public health movement.  Virgina has the ability to learn from those states who have tread this path before and prepare for repurcussions of a necessary act.

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27 Responses to “Intervention of negative economic effects of Virginia smoking ban”

  1. Paige Wickner Says:

    This is thought provoking. I was trying to look up what percentage of people in the state of Virginia smoke compared to other states. What I think is interesting is that according to this website: http://vaperforms.virginia.gov/indicators/healthFamily/cancer.php
    Virginia ranks 30th among states in terms of cancer mortality.
    The same website (different section) http://vaperforms.virginia.gov/indicators/healthFamily/smoking.php
    states that in 2008 Virginia’s smoking rate of 16.4% of adults is below the national ave (18.3%) and that its the 11th lowest smoking rate among the states. I would think that this would affect the amount of harmful economic impact a smoking ban may have an businesses. See figures in the above links. Thank for the thoughts.
    Paige

  2. marbee Says:

    If our country was a democracy, 51% of the people could decide they want to kill the other 49%. That is why our nation is a Constitutional Republic, to protect the minority, in this case, smokers! These days laws are enacted by polls. We need to get rid of these lawmakers who keep giving voters anything they want and elect those that abide by the U.S. Constitution. I think all bar owners should file a class action lawsuit against the state for trampling their private property rights! Bans decimate the tavern industry! These are prohibitionist thugs enacting these laws!

  3. Rebecca Says:

    When Ohio got its ban in 2007, 313 bars closed and 5,400 people lost their jobs. Liquor permit holders lost 67.44 million in sales. This does not include the private clubs, bowling alleys, restaurants and bingo halls that have closed. Indiana simply puts signs on the doors that say “Warning, smoking is allowed”. Now how simple is that? Think about it.

  4. Thomas Laprade Says:

    Elected officials have an obligation to protect the rights not only of the majority but the minority as well.
    Democracy works best when the lawful rights of the minority are enforced with the same vigor as those of the majority

  5. marbee Says:

    You call it a movement. It’s a brilliant marketing scam created by big pharma, makers of their own brand of nicotine!

  6. cdionne Says:

    Three years ago, Colorado passed a similar smoking ban. While the initial hissy fits from bar owners also contained cries of undue economic burden, the vast majority of bars and restaurants in this state enjoyed an increase in business and sales after this law went into effect. Other states have reported the same.

    http://www.smokefreecolorado.org/data/files/SFC_EconomicImpact_Brochure_06_04_07.pdf

    http://www.goingsmokefree.org/tools/downloads/reports/economic_impact.pdf

    And, that economic data doesn’t even hold a candle to the latest HEALTH results reported as a direct result of Colorado’s smoking ban: a decrease in heart attacks:

    http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-01/2009-01-03-voa2.cfm?CFID=271610566&CFTOKEN=94736269&jsessionid=8830c815bf78dc32677c795a431395d431c6

    For the first time in over a decade since I moved to this state, the Colorado ban allowed me the freedom of eating out — something I rarely did previously here. It certainly seems to me that the current economic health of restaurants and bars in this state reflects the fact that I was not alone in avoiding those establishments previously and am also not alone in enjoying them now.

    • marbee Says:

      cdionne: You have just cited tobacco control propoganda. Do you really think they would tell you anything that goes against their agenda? A study was performed at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health by Liz Klein Assistant Professor, Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Ohio State University funded by ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit organization that funds Minnesota tobacco control, but her study was done before a ban even began and included restaurants! This study ignored an earlier study by the same organization that showed drastic customer reductions in 7 out of 10 bars in publicly shared data. An Ohio Senator has since asked her to separate restaurants and bars since she clearly had such data. These studies by tobacco control have results favorable to their cause. These studies are not done by economists. In many cases, the results are determined before a study is even begun, they are paid for. Dig a little deeper and find out the truth!

      • cdionne Says:

        Um, check the bibliography of that “propaganda”. While the rhetoric may be pro-smoking ban, the references are the key components of those links.

        Further, you haven’t commented on the heart attack stats…hardly data pulled out of thin air by the anti-smoking lobby! Economics are about a great deal more than simply whether or not a single bar closes over this.

        And, finally, in my neck of the city — the core old town of Colorado Springs — the boon in new bars popping up on every street corner has been quite amazing. It used to be that I couldn’t walk a block in my neighborhood without encountering a church. Since 2006, that’s been replaced with small, neighborhood bars and liquor stores. I just don’t see any decrease in their businesses at all… anecdotal but true…

  7. sbfphc Says:

    This topic seems to have touched a nerve among the pro-cancer lobby. In the push for health reform we should not forget that the nation as a whole bears the financial brunt of people who make themselves sick from tobacco products, and the nation as a whole looses when smokers’ productive life years are cut short.

  8. Bob Says:

    The Illinois ban is over a year and and half old. Restaurants that used to have waiting time for tables seem to benefit with faster turnover of customers, and many more “to go” orders called in. The fallacy of the tobacco control people is that they group these restaurants into the same category as the “shot and beer” bars, many of which ignore the ban to keep their customers, especially during the sub zero weather. Also, “liquor sales” group bars and liquor stores together as one. The liquor stores do much better as more people are gathering at homes (with their kids) instead of at local bars, especially during major sporting events. Putting theser together makes it APPEAR that bars are also not affected. This whole ban thing is nothing but lies and deceit.

  9. Bob Says:

    Just a reminder of the sources of the bans, more concerned with “social change” than the ban themselves:

    http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?ia=143&id=14912

    And what the 99 million dollars was going to. Note on page seven the “inside -out”, provision going for patios later, AFTER business owners spend thousands of dollars to accommodate their smoking customers, clearly showing that they have ABSOLUTLY NO CONCERN about local issues or businesses.

    http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/CIA_Fundamentals.pdf

  10. Paige Wickner Says:

    Does anyone really think there is a ‘pro cancer’ group? I agree that we all bear the burden of other peoples poor choices in health care. My husband is an oncologist and sees countless lung cancer cases each year. I simply point out Virginia’s cancer and smoking statistics to counter the argument that banning smoking will have a large effect on the economy. I was so happy that this year that the hospital where I work has banned smoking not only inside the hospital but on all of its property, and told patients that they may be offered nicotene patches and other smoking cessation tools but they are not allowed to leave the patient floors to smoke.

  11. Debra Parry Says:

    In Ontario, the province where I live, smoking has been banned from restaurants and bars since May 31, 2006. According to Health Canada, a 2005 review of Canadian, U.S., and other international jurisdictions revealed that “evidence from the best quality studies consistently demonstrates that smoke-free legislation does not have a negative impact on the sales, revenues, profits and employment of restaurants, bars, hotels, and gaming facilities over the long term. The evidence presented here indicates that smoke-free legislation does not adversely affect the hospitality industry.” (If interested see: The Economic Impact of Smoke-Free Legislation on the Hospitality Industry (pdf) – 32 pages.) In addition, a 2003 report indicated no negative impact on Ottawa restaurants and bars, after the city implemented a 100 per cent smoke-free workplace and public places by law, with no designated smoking rooms in 2001. I feel strongly that bars and restaurants should not be given subsidies throughout this transition. In addition to the fact that economic sequelae are unlikely, it’s not as if owners were asked in the past to pay premiums to support the health care costs that they were enabling to create. If you feel a need to spend money, it should be to assist smokers to quit.

    It has been shown that smoke-free laws encourage smokers to quit and discourage youth from starting. Also, laws such as these help to protect the “minority” that don’t have a vote, specifically children, from secondhand smoke. Ontario has gone one step further in their efforts to protect children by enacting a new law prohibiting Ontarians from smoking in motor vehicles with passengers under 16. It came into effect on January 21, 2009. Under the law, a driver or passenger smoking in a motor vehicle, while someone else under the age of 16 is present, is committing an offence, and can be fined up to $250. Second-hand smoke in motor vehicles can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home. Evidence shows that children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. I’m curious as to whether any of the states have similar legislation?

    • pdebra Says:

      In Ontario, the province where I live, smoking has been banned from restaurants and bars since May 31, 2006. According to Health Canada, a 2005 review of Canadian, U.S., and other international jurisdictions revealed that “evidence from the best quality studies consistently demonstrates that smoke-free legislation does not have a negative impact on the sales, revenues, profits and employment of restaurants, bars, hotels, and gaming facilities over the long term. The evidence presented here indicates that smoke-free legislation does not adversely affect the hospitality industry.” (If interested see: The Economic Impact of Smoke-Free Legislation on the Hospitality Industry (pdf) – 32 pages.) In addition, a 2003 report indicated no negative impact on Ottawa restaurants and bars, after the city implemented a 100 per cent smoke-free workplace and public places by law, with no designated smoking rooms in 2001. I feel strongly that bars and restaurants should not be given subsidies throughout this transition. In addition to the fact that economic sequelae are unlikely, it’s not as if owners were asked in the past to pay premiums to support the health care costs that they were enabling to create. If you feel a need to spend money, it should be to assist smokers to quit.

      It has been shown that smoke-free laws encourage smokers to quit and discourage youth from starting. Also, laws such as these help to protect the “minority” that don’t have a vote, specifically children, from secondhand smoke. Ontario has gone one step further in their efforts to protect children by enacting a new law prohibiting Ontarians from smoking in motor vehicles with passengers under 16. It came into effect on January 21, 2009. Under the law, a driver or passenger smoking in a motor vehicle, while someone else under the age of 16 is present, is committing an offence, and can be fined up to $250. Second-hand smoke in motor vehicles can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home. Evidence shows that children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. I’m curious as to whether any of the states have similar legislation?

      (This is my reply based on the login with my e-mail that I sent to Dr. Brieger but I haven’t heard back from him about- Debra Parry).

      • marbee Says:

        You obviously will believe anything anti-tobacco wants you to.
        See this: http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2009/8/prweb2781384.htm
        Cigar Store Owners Support Appeal of Smoking Ban Enforcement Case
        Ohio’s three-year-old smoking ban is costing small businesses big money and jobs. That’s why the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is siding with proponents of an appeal of a lawsuit against draconian enforcement of the ban.

        In a case before the 10th District Court of Appeals in Franklin County, it is being argued that enforcement of the ban has gone too far when health department inspectors make no allowances for the best efforts of establishment owners to ensure that patrons adhere to the letter as well as spirit of the law.

        “It’s a mess. Businesses are losing money and jobs in the midst of an economic crisis. This means the state is losing money, too, but the state’s loss of tax revenues are at least being partially offset by fines collected for alleged smoking ban violations,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director for the IPCPR.

        McCalla cited a recent Federal Reserve Bank study of the economic impact of a statewide smoking ban in the state of Illinois. The study proved that the state lost more than $200 million in tax revenues from nine Illinois casinos directly stemming from the one-year-old ban. They collectively lost some $400 million in revenues while casinos in a neighboring state with no smoking ban had flat revenues for the year.

        “And there are more losses where that came from – more lost business income, more lost tax revenues and more lost jobs – because of a smoking ban. It’s bad enough we have to put up with an economic downturn while legislators look for ways to make things more difficult for small business owners instead of helping them turn the economy around,” said McCalla.

        “Not only should there be no such thing as legislated smoking bans, but the Ohio inspectors are slapping fines and citations willy-nilly against businesses that are doing all they can to enforce the law while their customers light up, inadvertently or not,” he added.

        McCalla says the IPCPR, an association of some 2,000 small-business owners of retail smoke shops and premium cigar manufacturers and distributors, is not against an individual business owner’s right to ban smoking on their premises.

        “When government decides to run those businesses by telling the owners they can’t allow smoking there, it steps across the line of freedoms as established by the constitution. If you don’t want to be with smokers, don’t go into an establishment that allows smoking. Period,” he said.

  12. marbee Says:

    I feel it is odd that since smoking rates have gone down so drastically, that asthma rates have skyrocketed! Social engineering propoganda at it’s best.

  13. marbee Says:

    Debra: Bars and restaurants are not government owned. They are owned by folks just wanting to make a living, not to cater to everyone! You as a consumer can choose where to go! Private enterprise is not publicly funded. The public does not pay their taxes, nor will they care if they go under. If the place ceases to exist, these anti-smokers can’t go there anyway, so why do they get to tell owners how to run it into the ground! Just stay out! If an owner wanted to open smoke free in a free state, there is no law saying they can’t! What has happened to “Free to be, you and me”? You nannies need to buy your own business, stay out of others!

    • hpvvaccine Says:

      Marbee: As you also probably know, breathing smoke, even secondhand, has very serious adverse health impacts in the long term – see cdionne’s posting re http://www.cancer.gov website.

      Re: “Free to be you and me” Many state and local smoking restrictions have been challenged in court, but consistently have been ruled constitutional. Courts have held that the rights of employees, and to a lesser extent customers, to work or shop/eat/etc. in an environment free of smoke trump the rights of smokers, who can continue to smoke at home or in most outdoor spaces.

      There are many things that are not allowed in bars/restaurants: nudity (except certain bars), having sex, urinating… Doesn’t mean these things are not allowed, the location to do them is simply restricted for the good of the public. And now so with smoking, restricted for the good of the public.

      • marbee Says:

        Last time I looked, smoking was not considered lewd or lascivious behavior. In fact, smoking is legal. Banning a legal product on private property is a travesty, unconstitutional, and infringes on private property rights without which there are NO rights!

  14. Thomas Laprade Says:

    What if the governments mandated that all currently smoke-free hospitality venues MUST provide a smoking section to accommodate smokers, against the wishes of business owners who choose
    to go smoke-free of their own free will?

    That wouldn’t be fair, would it?
    Neither are government mandated smoking bans.

  15. Rebecca Says:

    I am so tired of the campaign to denormalize smoking, to shame smokers into compliance, to make yourselves feel superior all the while taking profits from the master settlement agreement and grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Shame on you anti’s. People are catching onto your game.

    You suggest that smokers are somehow costing you money? Such a hoot! Stadiums, libraries, schools, golf courses, roads, entertainment centers, etc. and now uninsured children’s healthcare (SCHIP) are funded on the backs of smokers. You have distorted science to the point where it is not even scientific just so you can prove your point and steal property rights from private business owners. I am sick of this!

  16. marbee Says:

  17. Thomas Laprade Says:

  18. marbee Says:

    Public officials in San Francisco have enacted a ban on tobacco sales in drug stores, and similarly Boston officials have promulgated regulations that also ban tobacco sales in retail outlets with a pharmacy — including grocery stores and chain stores. Other state and local governments are considering similar measures. Why? Because tobacco is the competition for big pharma’s nicotine!

  19. Marlene Bakken Says:

    Maybe people really are just like Homer Simpson like Cass Sunstein says! Obama’s regulatory ‘czar’ lays out plan for dealing with opposition groups. This most dangerous man in America is laying out the groundwork to control EVERYTHING you do!
    “The nanny state is underrated; those who don’t appreciate it are nothing but ‘Homer Simpson’ Americans: Holy war between Socialism & Capitalism; Sunstein doesn’t call himself a Socialist, GIVEN CERTAIN CONCEPTIONS OF WHAT IS MEANS…Sunstein just wants to control what people buy w/consumption taxes & the like! Sunstein believes there should ‘absolutely’ be a BOTTOM FLOOR on economic equality, and a consumption ceiling, probably!! Sunstein isn’t a Socialist, really, he’s not! He just wants gov’t to control how much you’re allowed to buy!
    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/cass-sunstein-americans-are-like-homer-simpson-too-stupid-to-get-it/question-1225807/

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