Smoke-Free Policies Do Not Harm Restaurants' Bottom Line, Study in Massachusetts Finds
From 1996 to 1998, Gregory C. Pope, MS, and a team of investigators at the Center for Health Economics Research examined whether local smoke-free restaurant policies in Massachusetts affected restaurant sales.
They also identified the economic, social and political factors influencing the likelihood that a community will adopt an ordinance prohibiting smoking in restaurants.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).
- Based on a town-level analysis of meal taxes collected before and after the imposition of local smoke-free restaurant policies, the study concluded that community-wide smoke-free restaurant policies do not adversely affect restaurant business.
- A descriptive analysis of the factors that influenced adoption and severity of local restaurant smoking policies in Massachusetts found that:
- Communities with restaurant smoking policies were typically medium-sized and had a lower proportion of blue-collar workers than towns without smoking restrictions.
- Communities with higher levels of restrictions had higher median incomes and education levels than communities without restrictions.