Actual and perceived impacts of tobacco regulation on restaurants and firms 2001; 10: 33-37
Smoking restrictions in restaurants and firms are not bad for business, shows research in Tobacco Control.
Three surveys of firms and restaurants in Quebec were carried out to address concerns about the economic impact of impending legislation regulating employee tobacco use and smoking in restaurants. Altogether 600 firms and 401 restaurants took part.
The proposed legislation required the establishment of designated smoking areas, with direct evacuation of smoke outside the building in all firms and restaurants except bars. The legislation allowed for a complete ban on smoking if the legislation was thought too expensive to implement. Quebec has one of the highest smoking prevalences of any city in North America.
Almost half of the representative sample of firms, numbering 400, and over two thirds of the large firms, numbering 200, already had a policy regulating smoking in place. Over half of large firms without a policy would opt to impose a smoking ban rather than incur costs for building designated non-smoking areas. Anticipated costs for complying with the law were larger than actual costs, but still represented a minimal fraction of revenue.
Two thirds of restaurant owners did not want to impose a smoking ban in their establishments, but said that they would choose not to provide a smoking section in response to the law. Anticipated costs for compliance were significantly higher than those registered by restaurants who had already done so.
Sixty per cent of restaurant owners without a smoking policy expected a fall in revenue, but none of those who had already complied expected this. And 80 per cent of those who had already complied to some degree did not expect to see a drop in profits either.
"The results show that even in a high smoking prevalence area such as Quebec, a relatively strict law regulating smoking on-the
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