Article Comment 

Residents, visitors say they're in favor of Columbus smoking ban


Kristin Mamrack



As the city readies to weigh public input on new citywide smoking rules at a hearing Tuesday, residents and visitors to Columbus, randomly surveyed Friday, all supported the council passing a city-wide smoking ban. 


“I think it’s good (to ban smoking in public places),” Corey Thompson, of Columbus, said while shopping at Leigh Mall. “The people who don’t smoke don’t want to be around it and the smokers can go outside, I guess.” 


“I don’t smoke,” said Jamelia Joiner, of Macon, who was dining in Columbus. “I think it’s a good idea.” 


“That’s a good idea (to) ban people from smoking,” agreed Shedrick Shanklin, of Macon. “I can’t stand all that smoke.” 


“I absolutely want them to ban it,” said Loretta Tucker, of Columbus. “I don’t think it will hurt businesses. I think it will help, because people can go to public places and won’t have to worry about smoking and non-smoking areas. I think it should just be non-smoking.” 


A public hearing on the proposed smoking ban will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Columbus Municipal Complex. 


The ordinance, proposed by Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box, bans smoking in “all enclosed public places,” including restaurants. 


However, the ordinance, which largely is modeled after a Tennessee state law, allows smoking in “age-restricted venues,” or bars, restaurants and other establishments which only allow people age 21 or over to enter, and “private clubs,” which restrict access to the general public. 


As written, the ordinance allows businesses with three or fewer employees to designate enclosed smoking rooms, inaccessible to the general public. 


Additionally, exemptions are provided for “non-enclosed areas of public places, including, open-air patios, porches or decks.” 


“I don’t smoke, so it doesn’t matter,” said Michelle Banks, who was visiting from Arkansas. “It would probably matter to a person that smokes, but to me, it’s better for people who don’t smoke, because we don’t want secondhand smoke.” 


“I don’t smoke, so (a ban) doesn’t bother me,” said Douglas Frierson, of Columbus. “I think (a ban) is good, because a lot of people don’t care about blowing smoke in your face.” 


“In places, they should (ban smoking),” said James Alford, an Ackerman resident who smoked for more than 40 years, until he quit smoking about eight years ago. “But I think, if you’re out in the open and you’re by yourself, you should be allowed to smoke.” 


Freddie Fields, owner of Fuggetaboutit bar and restaurant downtown, said he would support a ban. 


“During the day, we have a lot of young kids in here, my grandkids come in here to eat. I would support a smoking ban in public places because there are concerns about second-hand smoke,” he said. 


Fields said he plans to build a patio in the back for those who want to smoke. 


“It will be a covered place so they can have somewhere to go when it rains,” he said. 






Proposed ordinance  












WHEREAS, scientific studies have found that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution; and 


WHEREAS, such scientific studies, including studies by the Surgeon General of the United States, have shown that breathing secondhand smoke poses a significant health hazard; and  


WHEREAS, the Mayor and the City Council find and declare that the purposes of this ordinance are to protect the public health and to promote the general welfare of its citizens by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment; and 


WHEREAS, the Mayor and the City Council find it in the best interest of the public health and welfare to provide a copy of the Smoking Ban Ordinance; 






1. Short Title. 




This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Columbus, Mississippi Non-Smoker Protection Act". 




2. Definitions. 




As used in this part, unless the context requires otherwise: 




(1) "Acceptable form of identification" means: 




(A) A state-issued driver license; 




(B) A state-issued identification card; 




(C) A valid passport; or 




(D) A valid military identification card; 




(2) "Age-restricted venue" means a legal establishment that affirmatively restricts access to its buildings or facilities at all times to persons who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older by requiring each person who attempts to gain entry to such buildings or facilities to submit for inspection an acceptable form of identification for the express purpose of determining if the person is twenty-one (21) years of age or older; 




(3) "Employee" means a person who is employed by an employer in consideration for direct or indirect monetary wages or profit and a person who volunteers such person's services for a non-profit entity; and 




(4) "Employer" means a person, business, partnership, association, corporation, including a municipal corporation, educational institution, trust, or non-profit entity that employs the services of one (1) or more individual persons; 




(5) "Enclosed area" means all space between a floor and ceiling that is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows, exclusive of doorways, which extend from the floor to ceiling; 




(6) "Health care facility" means an office or institution providing care or treatment of diseases, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or other medical, physiological, or psychological conditions. This definition shall include all waiting rooms, hallways, private rooms, semiprivate rooms, and wards within health care facilities; 




(7) "Person" means an individual, partnership, committee, association, corporation or any other organization or group of persons; 




(8) "Place of employment" means an enclosed area under the control of a public or private employer that employees normally frequent during the course of employment, including, but not limited to, work areas, private offices, employee lounges, restrooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms, classrooms, employee cafeterias, hallways, and vehicles. A private residence is not a "place of employment" unless it is used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility; 




(9) "Private club" means any club or organization that does not permit the general public access to its facilities or activities. Access is denied to anyone who does not agree or adhere to the rules of membership. In order to be considered a private club or organization for purposes of this part, the club or organization shall adhere to all of the following criteria: 




(A) Have a permanent mechanism to carefully screen applicants for membership on subjective rather than objective factors; 




(B) Limit access and use of facilities, services and activities of the organization to members and guests of the members; 




(C) Be controlled by its membership and operate solely for the benefit and pleasure of its members; and 




(D) Advertise exclusively and only to its members, excluding membership drives; 




"Private club" also means any institution or organization that has received a determination of exemption from the Internal Revenue Service under United States Code 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(19); 




(10) "Public place" means an enclosed area to which the public is invited including, but not limited to, banks, educational facilities, health care facilities, hotel and motel lobbies, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, recreational facilities, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, theaters, places of employment and waiting rooms; 




(11) "Restaurant" means an eating establishment, including, but not limited to, coffee shops, cafeterias, sandwich stands, and private and public school cafeterias, which gives or offers for sale food to




printer friendly version | back to top


Reader Comments

Article Comment Bob commented at 11/22/2009 6:13:00 AM:

A well funded "war on smokers" is underway. Here's where it started:

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 build them to accommodate their smoking customers, clearly showing that the tobacco control activists have ABSOLUTLY NO CONCERN about local issues or businesses. You may need to CTRL and scoll to enlarge it.

Here's the "model ban" from page eight that many communities copied, printed, and passed. It's the "smoking ban for dummies" It only takes a few minutes to fill in the blanks naming your community, the administrators names, and blanks to customize it to your community.


Article Comment Blake commented at 11/22/2009 9:36:00 AM:

You should also ban smoking in the " Age Restricted Venue " Some people like to have a beer without having to breath smoke. I don't like my clothes smelling like smoke all the time and I don't like breathing it either.


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/22/2009 1:37:00 PM:

I like to watch the games on television at sports bars...I think they should ban drinking too! ...I don't like smelling "beer breath" all over people like Blake!


Article Comment Dave commented at 11/22/2009 3:23:00 PM:

How did all these "cry-baby, don't smokers"get along till they started banning smoking. You NEVER heard a word back then.


Article Comment Gene commented at 11/22/2009 8:20:00 PM:

Thanks, "generalsn." God forbid there should be a single innocent message board in the country free from your idiotic spam.


Article Comment gene commented at 11/22/2009 8:22:00 PM:

"generalsn" is aka "Bob" Google his text. He's a despicable spammer.


Article Comment Doug commented at 11/23/2009 6:25:00 AM:

Avatar, what are you doing getting so close to people that you can smell there breath. Are you gay???


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/23/2009 11:15:00 AM:

Doug, You can smell that "beer breath" a mile away. Funny that's the first thing to come into your mind and you have such an interest in gays...seems to me maybe it's YOU that is gay!
The FACT is, I answer absurdity with something absurd. I wouldn't expect a narrow minded, pointy head liberal to "get it" anyway.


Article Comment Greg commented at 11/23/2009 11:20:00 AM:

The smoking ban is long overdue. A pat on the back to Charlie Box for stepping up to the plate and proposing the ban. If this town wants to grow like Starkville then this is one of the steps neccesary to make it happen.


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/23/2009 11:34:00 AM: other thing Doug, since YOU brought it up, what do you have against gays anyway? Are you some kind of Homophobe? I thought only "Extreme Right-wing Radicals" were Homophobes! Also, use spell check the next time you send a message so you won't show your ignorance. It would be "THEIR breath", not "THERE breath".


Article Comment KJ commented at 11/23/2009 1:33:00 PM:

Some people could just open up a non-smoking adult establishment if they wanted to. There are currently zero regulations prohibiting anyone from designating their business as non-smoking. Freddie Fields can step up to the plate any time he wants to demonstrate how awesome a non-smoking policy is for business. I'm sure the owner of the Dispatch and a whole lot of non-smokers will pack his bar ever night. These non-smokers aren't going to eat out more ofter, they're not going to go out more often. They couldn't care less about going out more...they just want to enjoy the self-satisfied smugness of people who are able to exert control over other people.


Article Comment walter commented at 11/23/2009 1:44:00 PM:

Citizens, residents and visitors, please, lets not have a civil war on an ordinance that would surely improve the quality of life and possibly extend the lives of some!

City leaders have placed the issue on their agenda for a public hearing, before submitting it to a vote. You can trust the system, because the leaders are trustworthy and because they have wisely provided for the utmost in transparency.

The wishes of the majority will be adopted. We should neither expect, nor desire, anything more! Await the results and move-on to other more serious and pressing issues. Then, resolve them through basically the same process. That's the hallmark of a progressive leadership and citizenry-- the forecaster of an even brighter day for all.


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/23/2009 2:32:00 PM:

Poor gene borio.......on every message board gene is trying to do damage control for tobacco control.....gene boy your losing it....your message isnt getting thru anymore,Gene we control your agenda and you.......face it youve lost.....defeated by nothing more than the truth.......second han smoke is a joke...gene now go get a real job,but whatever you do dont stand up before the voters and run for dog catcher....they remember your lies from the smoking ban.....


Article Comment harleyrider commented at 11/23/2009 2:33:00 PM:

SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A JOKE. Ask the anti-tobacco folks to tell you what truly is in second hand smoke...when it burns from the coal its oxygenated and everything is burned and turned into water vapor..................thats right ever burned leaves in the fall...know how the heavy smoke bellows off.......thats the organic material releasing the moisture in the leaves the greener the leaves/organic material the more smoke thats made......thats why second hand smoke is classified as a class 3 irritant by osha and epa as of 2006........after that time EPA decided to change the listing of shs as a carcinogen for political reasons.......because it contained a trace amount of 6 chemicals so small even sophisticated scientific equipment can hardly detect it ........they didnt however use the normal dose makes the poison computation when they made this political decision. However osha still maintains shs/ets as an irritant only and maintains the dose makes the poison osha is in charge of indoor air quality its decisions are based on science not political agendas as epa's is. We can see this is true after a federal judge threw out the epa's study on shs as junk science......... Wednesday, March 12, 2008 British Medical Journal & WHO conclude secondhand smoke "health hazard" claims are greatly exaggerated The BMJ published report at:

concludes that "The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer are considerably weaker than generally believed." What makes this study so significant is that it took place over a 39 year period, and studied the results of non-smokers who lived with smokers.....

meaning these non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke up to 24 hours per day; 365 days per year for 39 years. And there was still no relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality. In light of the damage to business, jobs, and the economy from smoking bans the BMJ report should be revisited by lawmakers as a reference tool and justification to repeal the now unnecessary and very damaging smoking ban laws. Also significant is the World Health Organization (WHO) study:

Passive smoking doesn't cause cancer-official By Victoria Macdonald, Health Correspondent " The results are consistent with their being no additional risk for a person living or working with a smoker and could be consistent with passive smoke having a protective effect against lung cancer. The summary, seen by The Telegraph, also states: 'There was no association between lung cancer risk and ETS exposure during childhood.' " And if lawmakers need additional real world data to further highlight the need to eliminate these onerous and arbitrary laws, air quality testing by Johns Hopkins University proves that secondhand smoke is up to 25,000 times SAFER than occupational (OSHA) workplace regulations.

The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke... but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). - (Excerpted from "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" with permission of the author.)

The Myth of the Smoking Ban 'Miracle' Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates. It's not true.

As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: "Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/23/2009 2:39:00 PM:

We may as well have a civil war. Were you not aware that the country is basically split 50/50?

I, for one, will NEVER be silenced from presenting my point of view in whatever venue that is avaiable. Not by you, or any "city leaders". The reason there should be debate here is because of the very article we are commenting under. Do you REALLY expect me to believe that Kristin Mamrack could not find ONE person with an opposing view? FAIR...I THINK NOT! If YOU believe this, then you certainly are as dim-witted as the rest of these "socialist" that are for this ban against PRIVATE business owners.


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/23/2009 2:51:00 PM:

avatar I guarantee you this story is nothing more than fiction as far as support goes for a ban.Its the same game played everywhere by the smoke free nazis.......I kinda bet your fixing to get a visit by the american cancer societies road show of victims and paid professional phds........if you can cross examine the nazis on the stand.the first thing they will do is fall back on the I have a phd and in my professional opinion..duh duh duh.......then ask them how much they are paid to be present.....then go check and you will see they have been to a hundred other city council meetings giving the same lame excuses for a smoking ban.....always the same tripe and never anything more than a parade of victims crying on the witness stand of victimhood..they got a zillion fake stories...ask em to produce a death certificate where it says shs/ets was the cause.........there so easy to destroy when you can cross examine.


Article Comment Kristin Mamrack commented at 11/23/2009 2:59:00 PM:

I hoped to find someone with an opposing view to the proposed smoking ban (i.e. someone not in favor of a ban), but each person who agreed to be quoted for the story said they were in favor of the ban. If there were any smokers or people against the ban when I was at Leigh Mall for the story, they were among those who declined to be interviewed for the story.


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/23/2009 3:24:00 PM:

Go to the court house.....stand on the corner I made 1 phone call and got people against the ban.
What you should be doing as a story is the lies and the deciet behind the folks pushing the smoking bans..........check out the propaganda of smoke free groups........thats where the true story lies....the 1992 epa study that the surgeon generals 2006 report is based on,was tossed out by a federal judge as junk science after he did 4 years of investigation.......even congress held comittee meetings on it and had an independent group reasearch jusge osteens claims about the epa report.......even they came back and said the second hand smoke study was junk science........changing mehtodology at everyturn to try and create a healthscare....lowered confidence levels,cherry picked data and so on..........the real story is there..expose it for what it is...a prohibition movement and the same folks are after the obese people in mississppi too.they have tried already and heres the proof.

Mississippi Legislature
2008 Regular Session
House Bill 282
House Calendar | Senate Calendar | Main Menu
Additional Information | All Versions

Current Bill Text: |

Description: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.

Background Information:
Disposition: Active
Deadline: General Bill/Constitutional Amendment
Revenue: No
Vote type required: Majority
Effective date: July 1, 2008

History of Actions:
1 01/25 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services;Judiciary B

----- Additional Information -----

House Committee: Public Health and Human Services*, Judiciary B

Principal Author: Mayhall
Additional Authors: Read, Shows


----- Bill Text for All Versions ----
| As Introduced (Current)

Information pertaining to this measure was last updated on 01/29/2008 at 11:24
End Of Document


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/23/2009 4:00:00 PM:

I do not know what the outcome will be, of the vote. I, accept that it will be arrived at through a real genuine democratic process and thus, it will be good and acceptable to me.

My question is why are the peoples liberty and rights even up for a vote.....The ninth amendment reserves to the people their rights. This type of backdoor political move is not only unjust but against the very foundations of civil rights,equal protection and access to which we all hold dear. Americas freedom outlawed....a new police state is born...and the health dept just bought new squad cars.....I hope the business owners realise what prohibition does and the politicians too....if you havent been a victim of the smoking bans yet.your in for a big surprise..bootlegging in untaxed cigs,smoke easys, ordinary citizens arrested and fined for nothing more than a smoke.......what has happened to the america we all lived in.


Article Comment A reader commented at 11/23/2009 4:03:00 PM:

Kristin, thanks for posting a comment. It's nice to have reporters interacting online!


Article Comment Avatar commented at 11/23/2009 5:42:00 PM:

Just to set the record straight, I didn't say the "county" was split 50/50, I said the "country" was split 50/50.

It is your "opinion" that, "You can trust the system, because the leaders are trustworthy and because they have wisely provided for the utmost in transparency." That is NOT necessarily MY opinion.

Also, you keep talking about "democracy" and "the democratic process". Might I remind you that we live in a "representative republic" and that only if EVERY SINGLE VOTER cast a vote about EVERY issue would it then be a true democracy. So, it is to the representatives that I actually am complaining to...that they will be involving government in the freedom of choices that a PRIVATE business owner should be making. Only when other citizens try and argue against those facts do I interject myself into debate with them. Thus, that is the case most anytime someone posts a comment on articles of political interest.

If this statement of yours is true, "I do not doubt your sincerity of purpose and pray deeply that you do not doubt mine or my resolve for freedom, in every sense of the word, for not only myself, but also all others whose freedoms are continously being curtailed, under the color of law and custom.", then you are in direct contradiction of yourself by supporting a "ban on smoking" for PRIVATE business owners.

Thank you for your sincerity in wishing me the best for the holidays. I wish you the best as well and a Merry CHRISTMAS too!

Kristin, Can you give us a "time frame" as to how long you attempted to get someone with an opposing view to allow themselves to be qouted? In my opinion, if I were a reporter I would have made it a POINT to find someone with an opposing view JUST so my story would be objective!


Article Comment melody commented at 11/24/2009 10:41:00 AM:

The meeting for input from the people on smoking is a waste. I'm not going-got better things to do with my time. Like WORK, so I can afford to pay for the over taxed cigs. The dems want us to smoke till we die so they can get all that tax $ to pay for their 3 day week end vacations.


Article Comment harleyrider1978 commented at 11/25/2009 8:10:00 AM:


By David W. Kuneman and Michael J. McFadden


Many studies have been published purporting to prove smoking bans in bars and restaurants are either good or neutral for business, and conflicting studies have also been published purporting to prove bans are bad for business. Scollo, Lal, Hyland and Glantz recently summarized many of these studies, concluding those which find no economic impact are published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and funded by "objective" antitobacco interests, while those that do find bans hurt business are funded almost universally by Big Tobacco or its allies. Tobacco Control, 2003;12:13-20. However, the objectivity of those who publish studies finding smoking bans don't hurt business is also questioned because they are funded by groups with clear and open objectives of promoting smoking bans.

One common problem with many studies of smoking bans is that the time-span studied before and after a ban goes into effect is too small to accurately measure the ultimate impact of such bans. For example, long before state bans go into effect, many local governments have passed bans that affect business, and long before local governments pass bans many restaurants voluntarily ban smoking. For example, we obtained a copy of California Smoke-Free Cities Bulletin , October, 1993 which was developed with the support of the California Department of Health Services. The "Fact Sheet" summarizes that by the publication date, 8,668,235 Californians, or 27% of the population lived in an area whose local government had a 100% ban on smoking in restaurants. Further, 62 cities and nine counties had ordinances requiring 100% smoke-free restaurants, and 295 cities had ordinances restricting smoking. In addition, many more restaurants had voluntarily banned smoking in areas not covered by an ordinance. Long before the state restaurant smoking ban took effect, in 1995, many Californians did not have the option of dining in a smoking environment. Therefore, in this example, we would expect total California bar and restaurant revenue to decline years before the state ban took effect, and studies which typically only measured data collected one year before that state ban would not have measured the entire economic impact of the loss of smoking accommodations in California's restaurants.

After a ban goes into effect, some establishments violate bans, others find ways to skirt bans, and some establishments are granted exemptions. Sometimes, bans are not immediately enforced by public officials. Some establishments raise prices to offset lost business which can temporarily mask the revenue effects of bans, and some smokers continue to patronize affected establishments until they adopt other socializing habits that don't involve patronizing the affected establishments. For these reasons, measurements of the economic impact of smoking bans must also consider that some smoking accommodations can remain available after smoking bans take effect, and data must be collected longer than the one year after a ban takes effect in order to accurately measure the effect of a ban.

We further question why studies on both sides of the issue most often utilize data related to sales tax revenues collected from bars and restaurants, or employment data of those workers who work in bars and restaurants. We agree such data would be useful if the studies were exploring the relationship between smoking bans and tax revenues collected by various taxing authorities, or if they were exploring the relationship between smoking bans and employment in bars and restaurants. Very few studies actually utilize data of gross sales received by bars and restaurants in business before and after bans take place, which would , naturally, be of most concern to those who own bars and restaurants.

One recent claim even capitalized on the 9-11 disaster in New York City to "prove" bans don't hurt business. It claimed the city's March 2003 ban was good for business because the city's "bars and restaurants paid the city 12% more tax revenues in the first six months after the smoke-free law took effect than during the same period in 2002." Flyer: SMOKE-FREE LAWS DO NOT HARM BUSINESS AT RESTAURANTS AND BARS , Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids 1400 I St. Suite 1200, Washington DC. The same period they refer to in 2002 was from March 2002 to September 2002, when many Wall Street businesses were operating in New Jersey due to the disruptive clean-up of the World Trade center site, and tourists were avoiding NYC, many fearing another possible attack. Mayor Guiliani appeared on television and asked nonessential personnel to avoid the area. Estimates were publicized in the media that the 9-11 disaster cost NYC in excess of $50 billion in business, in late 2001 and 2002; much, certainly was lost by bar and restaurant businesses situated near the attack site. In 2003, Wall Street businesses, residents, and tourists returned to NYC and comparing 2002 to 2003, ban or no ban, cannot be valid without controlling for the effects of the attack.

Those who conduct these studies should rely on long term total bar and restaurant revenue data because they are a direct measurement of how much money was spent by customers in bars and restaurants, and such data are readily available from the U.S. Dept of Commerce. Comparing these revenues to total retail trade data controls for the spending power of the public, as evidenced by the data from the other retail sectors. For example, if a recession occurs at the same time as a ban takes effect, a researcher can adjust retail bar and restaurant revenue data for the effects of the recession using total retail sales numbers. During the period from 1990 to 1998, The U.S. Dept. of Commerce published such data through the Census Bureau's annual periodical Statistical Abstracts of the United States. These editions are available in the reference sections of better libraries, because these references are considered to contain the best data available. These data we will utilize are also available on the web, at During this period, the Dept. of Commerce reported data using the Standard Industrial Classification code to define bars and restaurants. After 1998, the Dept of Commerce adopted the North American Industry Classification System and cautions comparisons with the SIC system may not be valid. This is why we limit our analysis to the period 1990 to 1998.

States' Bar and Restaurant Revenue Losses With Smoking Bans

In 2000, the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research published a report classifying states as either smoker-friendly or smoker-unfriendly in terms of bar and restaurant smoking restrictions. A state was classified as smoker-unfriendly if bans had been imposed at the state level or if many local governments had severely restricted or eliminated smoking in bars and restaurants, even if the state had not.

These states are tabulated below, along with the United States, overall, as reported by the U.S. Dept of Commerce. All data are in billions of dollars and not inflation adjusted. The 1987 data are also included to demonstrate growth was occurring in all these states prior to 1990, before smoking bans were common. After 1990, local smoking bans began to take effect in California, and smoking restrictions began to take effect in the other states, so this is the period we have chosen for study.

USA- is the USA data minus the data from CA, NY,MA,VT, and UT; or the total of the 45 smoker friendly states and D.C.

**Utah had a 14% smoking rate in 1998, so the presence of a ban there would not affect business as much as states with higher smoking rates, which typically range from 22% to 29%.

The USA experienced bar and restaurant revenue growth of 19% between 1987 and 1990 and USA- experienced growth of 16% in the same period indicating the not-yet smoker-unfriendly states contributed the extra +3% difference. Taken as combined data, bar and restaurant revenue growth in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Utah exceeded the national trend.

The USA experienced bar and restaurant revenue growth of 43% between 1990 and 1998 and USA- experienced growth of 56% in the same period indicating the now smoker unfriendly states contributed the loss of -13% difference. Taken as combined data, bar and restaurant revenue growth in California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Utah lagged the national trend from 1990 to 1998.

Except for Utah, all the smoker unfriendly states' bar and restaurant revenue growth was substantially lower than total revenue growth. Since Utah had a 14% smoking rate in 1998, demand for smoking accommodations was too weak for a ban to have much of an effect. Utah also hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, and by 1996, the economic impact of the preparations was already contributing to the local economy, and the workers would have dined out frequently since they were temporary residents. ( In the other smoker unfriendly states, bar and restaurant revenue growth under-performed total revenue growth on average about 25%, which is close to the average adult smoking rate of 21.7% in these states in 1998.

We examined the complete U.S. Dept of Commerce data set referenced in the "background" section of this article and confirmed most of the individual states not considered smoker-unfriendly by the Connecticut research report fit the pattern of business growth similar to the USA- from 1990 to 1998.

If California's bar and restaurant retail growth had kept up with the smoker-friendly states ( USA-) between 1990 and 1998, California's bar and restaurant revenue would have grown from $26.3 billion in 1990 to $41 billion in 1998. (26.3 X 1.56) This is a bar and restaurant revenue loss of $15 billion for 1998 alone. However, this trend had been going on for eight years, and interpolating a linear trend on the data, we find total revenue loss for the eight-year period is $60 billion dollars. (1/2 the base X the height)

Bar and Restaurant Revenue Growth in Smoker-friendly States

The U.S. Center for Disease Control publishes MMWR, a weekly update of health-related reports throughout the United States. In the June 25, 1999, edition, they published a report summarizing smoke-free indoor air laws, and as of December 31,1998, 46 states and the District of Columbia restricted smoking to some extent, but Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina had no restrictions on smoking in any category including bars and restaurants. ; starts on page 24

In the same manner above, utilizing the same data resources, we have tabulated the most smoker-friendly states: all data in billions of dollars.

Table II

Bar&Rest retail 1990
Bar&Rest retail 1998
% growth
Total Retail 1990
Total Retail 1998
% growth











USA- is USA minus the smoker-unfriendly states from Table I, for comparison.

USA-- is USA minus the smoker-friendly states.

The most smoker-friendly states' average growth in bar and restaurant revenues matched their average total retail revenue growth of 58%. The USA-, which do not contain data from the smoker-unfriendly states from Table I, also matched their bar and restaurant revenue growth with their total retail growth of 56%. However, USA, and USA-- in Table II under-perform the smoker-friendly states because they contain the data from the smoker-unfriendly states. Thus far, the only states whose bar and restaurant revenue did not grow as fast as their total retail revenue are the states which were smoker-unfriendly ( except Utah), or total USA data and USA-- which are terms which both included the smoker-unfriendly states. Most importantly, if claims were true that smoking bans are good for bar and restaurant business, then the lack of smoking bans should be bad for those businesses. However, we have found the lack of any smoking restriction or ban law does not adversely influence bar and restaurant revenue growth when compared to the states with reasonable smoking restrictions.

Considering the smoker-friendly states' bar and restaurant revenue growth data, we conclude that nonsmokers do not patronize bars and restaurants less often when state or local governments don't severely restrict or ban smoking. More than 70% of adults in these smoker friendly states do not smoke, but seem as willing as nonsmokers in states with moderate smoking restrictions to patronize bars and restaurants. The four most smoker-friendly states do not prohibit any individual bar or restaurant from banning smoking, if it is what the owner determines is best for business. It is obvious our free-market economic system, without any smoking laws at all, and leaving the smoking policy decisions in control of the owner, works to satisfy all customers.

Bar and Restaurant Revenue Growth in the Border States

California is bordered by Arizona, Oregon and Nevada. All U.S. Dept. of Commerce data are in billions of dollars.

Table III

Bar and Rest retail 1990
All retail except Bar&Res, 1990
Bar and Rest retail1998
B&R % growth
All Retail except Bar&Res, 1998
% growth





Smoker-friendly Arizona's bar and restaurant revenue growth exceeded its other retail growth by a margin of 135 : 83, Oregon's lagged 29 : 73, and Nevada's exceeded by 170 : 123. Averaging these margins, the combined three states' bar and restaurant revenue growth exceeded all other retail by a margin of 111 : 93. California's other retail grew 32.3% from 1990 to 1998, and based on the smoker-friendly border states' average margin, California's bar and restaurant revenue growth should have been (111 divided by 93 times 32.3 =) 38.6% Since the actual growth was 6.5%, we attribute the difference of 32.1% to local and state smoking bans.

If California's bar and restaurant margin-adjusted revenue growth had kept pace with its border states, its bar and restaurant revenue for 1998 would have been $36.5 billion, or $8.5 billion more than it actually took in. Over the time span of 1990 to 1998, California lost $34 billion based on (1/2 base X the height) calculations. This disagrees with our earlier estimate of $60 billion because these calculations take into account a slightly weaker overall economy in California than its border states. While directly comparable government tabulated figures do not exist for the years of 1999 to 2004, it would not be unreasonable to assume that these trends have continued and that California's smoking ban has cost the state's economy on the order of $75 to $100 billion since 1990.

However, this calculation may underestimate California's bar and restaurant losses because they are calculated by comparing to California's all retail except bar and restaurant growth which also would have been higher without smoking bans. This would happen if California's bar and restaurant employees and owners also lost wage growth corresponding to the 25.8% difference between all retail except bar and restaurant revenue growth and bar and restaurant revenue growth. Therefore, those owners and employees would be 25.8 % less able to contribute to all retail except bar and restaurant revenue growth than they otherwise would have been, and may have adversely affected total retail growth in addition to the $8.5 billion loss in 1998 directly attributable to the ban. In summary, California's smoking ban probably contributed to its overall economic problems since the late 1990s beyond the direct impact of the contribution of lower bar and restaurant total revenues.

One should note earlier we found California and other smoker unfriendly states lagged the national trend of bar and restaurant revenue growth between 1990 and 1998. As the combined data from Arizona, Oregon and Nevada clearly show, the aggregate of these other western states did not lag the national trend. Most of California's population lives too far from the borders for California smokers to commute easily for the purposes of patronizing smoker-friendly establishments in those states. Therefore we do not believe these states benefited from California's smoking ban. Lastly, the combination of lack of opportunity for California smokers to commute and the finding of California's under- performance in bar and restaurant revenue growth prove that when a "level playing field" environment is imposed, all bars and restaurants still lose business even in a state as large as California. It is not possible to "trap" smokers in a ban environment and expect them to patronize establishments subject to bans as much as they did before the bans were imposed. The "playing field" of a large scale smoking ban may be level but it is far more of a level basin than a level plateau.


Total bar and restaurant revenue growth in California and other smoker-unfriendly states did not keep pace with those states' other retail businesses or our nation's overall bar and restaurant retail growth 80% of the time. The overall order of magnitude of the bar and restaurant retail growth losses in all smoker unfriendly states, except Utah, was about 25%.

Bar and restaurant revenue growth in states with no smoking restrictions did as well as states with reasonable smoking restrictions. Claims the public demands smoking restrictions or eliminations, if true, would have caused states with no restrictions to lose bar and restaurant revenue growth relative to other retail revenue growth.

There were no regional business conditions that could have explained the bar and restaurant revenue losses California experienced from 1990 to 1998. Although California's border states had overall retail revenue growth in excess of California's even after adjusting for the overall retail growth data, California's bar and restaurant businesses still lost growth than cannot be explained without considering the smoking bans.

Claims studies can only find smoking bans are bad for business when funded by Big Tobacco or its affiliates, or use anecdotal data are not true. We have shown smoking bans hurt bar and restaurant businesses 80% of the time using data from the U.S. Dept of Commerce. Further, most studies which find bans don't hurt business are at odds with our conclusions because they use tax revenue and employment data to determine ban effects; and fail to measure for a sufficient length of time before bans take effect and a sufficient length of time after bans take effect.


The authors, used their own time and funds to research and prepare this article. Neither has any competing financial interest in this research or the outcome of this research.

Dave Kuneman, who smokes, worked for 6 years in the 1980s as a research chemist for Seven-Up and still draws a small pension from that work. At the time of his employment Seven-Up was owned by Philip Morris. His current work and concern in this area has no connection to that employment.

Michael J. McFadden does not have any financial connections or obligations to Big Tobacco, Big Hospitality, Big Pharma, or other major players in this fight. He is a smoker, a member of several Free-Choice groups, and the author of Dissecting Antismokers' Brains and Stopping A Smoking Ban.


Article Comment melody commented at 11/26/2009 12:08:00 PM:

Hey Harleyrider- What are Economic Losses due to smokeing bans? Is that something to dred more than life losses???


Article Comment geneb commented at 4/18/2011 11:56:00 AM:

Ah, harleyrider cites Kuneman and McFadden, the esteemed experts -and so are they all, all scientifical men.

And what peer-reviewed journal is this from, this "study" that flies in the face of most studies on the economic results of smoking bans? Oh, it's from their own website where they sell their books? I see. Very authoritative. But so are they all, all scientifical men.

And an Acting Secretary's letter to a private citizen is NOT official OSHA policy. Even so, Harleyrider truncates Watchman's letter, neglecting the crucial, "The more central concern of the Agency is that synergism of the chemicals in tobacco smoke may lead to adverse health effects even though the PELs are often not exceeded."

OSHA doesn't regulate SHS because it's not intrinsic to the work. But Harley had best avoid any mention of OSHA at all, because OFFICIALLY, OSHA directs people for guidance on secondhand smoke issues to that very 1993 EPA report he tries so hard to trash.

But Harley's not here to inform, but to mislead, and along with his pals Kuneman and McFadden, so are they all, all scientifical men.


back to top





Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Email