Smokefree Policies Do Not Hurt the Hospitality Industry

Evidence from peer-reviewed studies examining objective measures such as taxable sales revenue and employment levels shows that smokefree policies and regulations do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry, and often have positive effect on businesses.1–19

Selected Studies


A study looking at the economic impact of the 2003 Pueblo, Colorado smokefree ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars, found that—

  • The city of Pueblo experienced a 20.3% gain in combined bar and restaurant sales tax revenues from the pre- to post-ordinance period.
  • The ratio of bar openings to closings improved from 1:1 pre-period to 3.3:1 post-period.
  • The ratio of restaurant openings to closings remained unchanged at approximately 1.78:1 from the pre- to the post-period.7


An analysis of employment data from Kentucky found that—

  • A local smokefree law in Lexington-Fayette County was positively associated with restaurant employment and was not significantly associated with bar employment.
  • No relationship was observed between implementation of the law and employment in contiguous counties.
  • No relationship was observed between the law and business openings or closings in either alcohol-serving or nonalcohol-serving businesses.8


An environmental and economic evaluation of the smokefree law in Massachusetts found that—

  • The statewide law improved indoor air quality in a sample of Massachusetts venues.
  • The statewide law had no negative impact on meals tax collection or employment in the food services, drinking places, and accommodations industries.9


An analysis of sales revenue and employment data in Minnesota found that—

  • Restaurants and bars in Minnesota communities with comprehensive or partial local smokefree laws reported slightly higher revenue than those in communities with no smoking restrictions.10
  • There were no significant changes in statewide bar or restaurant employment after the Minnesota 2007 comprehensive state smokefree law was implemented.11

New York

An evaluation of the impact of smokefree policies on New York City found that—

  • Restaurant and bar revenues in New York City increased by 8.7% from April 2003 through January 2004 after the city’s smokefree law was implemented.
  • Employment in the city’s restaurants and bars increased by approximately 2,800 seasonally adjusted jobs from March 2003 to December 2003.
  • The number of restaurants and bars in the city remained essentially unchanged between the third quarter of 2002 and the third quarter of 2003.12
  • An additional evaluation of the New York state tobacco control program found that the state’s smokefree law had no adverse effect on sales in full-service restaurants and bars.13


A study of hospitality venue revenues in El Paso, Texas, found that—

  • No declines in total restaurant, bar, or mixed-beverage revenues were observed during the first year after the city adopted a smoking ban in all workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars.14


An analysis of statewide retail sales data from 2002 through 2007 found that—

  • Sales revenues for bars and taverns in Washington State were $105.5 million higher than expected in the 2 years after a comprehensive state smokefree law took effect in December 2005.15


One of the earliest economic impact studies in the United States found that—

  • Local smokefree restaurant laws had no statistically significant effect on restaurant sales as a fraction of total retail sales or on the ratio between restaurant sales in 15 U.S. cities with smokefree restaurant laws and restaurant sales in 15 similar cities without such laws.16
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. CDC: Office on Smoking and Health, 2006 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Smoke-Free Policies. [PDF–1.6 MB] IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Tobacco Control, Vol. 13. Lyon, France: IARC; 2009 [cited 2014 Apr 8].
  3. Hahn EJ. Smokefree Legislation: A Review of Health and Economic Outcomes.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;39(6 Suppl 1):S66–76 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  4. National Cancer Institute (U.S.) and World Health Organization. The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control. NCI Tobacco Control Monograph Series, 2016 [accessed 2020 Aug 17].
  5. Eriksen M, Chaloupka F. The Economic Impact of Clean Indoor Air Laws. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 2007;57:367–78 [cited 2014 Apr 8].
  6. Cowling DW, Bond P. Smoke-free laws and Bar Revenues in California—the Last Call. Health Economics 2005;14(12):1273–81 [cited 2014 Apr 8].
  7. Young WF, Szychowski J, Karp S, Liu L, Diedrich RT. Economic Impacts of the Pueblo Smokefree Air Act. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;38(3):340–3 [cited 2014 Apr 8].
  8. Pyles MK, Mullineaux DJ, Okoli CTC, Hahn EJ. Economic Effect of a Smoke-free Law in a Tobacco-Growing Community.  Tobacco Control 2007;16:66–8 [accessed 2020 Aug 17].
  9. Alpert HR, Carpenter CM, Travers MJ, Connolly GN. Environmental and Economic Evaluation of the Massachusetts Smoke-free Workplace Law Journal of Community Health 2007;32(4):269-81 [cited 2014 Apr 8].
  10. Collins NM, Shi Q, Forster JL, Erickson DJ, Toomey TL. Effects of Clean Indoor Air Laws on Bar and Restaurant Revenue in Minnesota Cities.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;39(6 Suppl 1):S10–S5 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  11. Klein EG, Forster JL, Collins NM, Erickson DJ, Toomey TL. Employment Change for Bars and Restaurants Following a Statewide Clean Indoor Air Policy.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;39(6 Suppl 1):S16–S22 [accessed 2020 Aug 17].
  12. New York City Department of Finance, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City Department of Small Business Services, New York City Economic Development Corporation. The State of Smoke-Free New York City: A One-Year Review. New York: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene;2004 [accessed 2020 Aug 17].
  13. New York State Department of Health. Second Annual Independent Evaluation of New York’s Tobacco Control Program, 2005. New York: New York State Department of Health;2005 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Impact of a Smoking Ban on Restaurant and Bar Revenues—El Paso, Texas, 2002. MMWR 2004;53(7):150–2 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  15. Boles M, Dilley J, Maher JE, Boysun MJ, Reid T. Smoke-free Law Associated with Higher-Than-Expected Taxable Sales for Bars and Taverns in Washington State. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy 2010;7(4):A79. [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  16. Dai C, Denslow D, Hyland A, Lotfinia B. The Economic Impact of Florida’s Smoke-Free Workplace Law. Gainesville, FL: Bureau of Economic and Business Research, Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida;2004.
  17. Glantz SA, Smith LRA. The Effect of Ordinances Requiring Smoke-free Restaurants on Restaurant Sales.  [PDF–1.18 MB] American Journal of Public Health 1994;84(7):1081–5. [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  18. Pyles MK, Hahn EJ. Economic Effects of Ohio’s Smoke-Free Law on Kentucky and Ohio Border Counties.  Tobacco Control 2011;20:73–6. [accessed 2014 Apr 8].
  19. Scollo M, Lal A, Hyland A, Glantz S. Review of the Quality of Studies on the Economic Effects of Smoke-free Policies on the Hospitality Industry.  ([PDF–232 KB] Tobacco Control 2003;12(1):13–20 [accessed 2014 Apr 8].