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Smoking bans don't hurt jobs in Minnesota...

During the hotly debated run-up to Minnesota's ban on smoking in nearly all businesses, many worried that jobs would be lost as a result. But it appears a smoking ban in restaurants and bars does not negatively impact business, according to a study.

"New research released in the December 2010 supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) concludes that Minnesota’s statewide smoke-free law has not adversely affected bar and restaurant employment. The research adds to the growing body of evidence on the Freedom to Breathe Act’s success and offers the first analysis of independent data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development," says an announcement from ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit created with money from Minnesota's historic tobacco settlement.

ClearWay quotes its CEO as saying, "these findings are significant because employment data is a key indicator of economic impact. We now know that the Freedom to Breathe Act significantly improved health without imposing an economic burden on the hospitality industry."

By the tiniest of margins, bars and restaurants operating under Minnesota's Freedom to Breath Act actually did a little better than those not governed by tobacco-limiting legislation, the journal article says

"Prohibiting smoking in workplaces is the most effective way to eliminate involuntary worksite exposure to secondhand smoke," which, also according to the journal article, "is known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory conditions, and other diseases in nonsmokers."

Researchers compared restaurants and bars in communities that enacted bans between 2003 and 2007 and compared them with communities that had no ban or a partial ban.

"Contrary to concerns that such ordinances will decrease revenue, enactment of a clean indoor air ordinance appears to improve the profıt margin of bars and restaurants overall rather than detract from it," the researchers report.

They used employment data from tax collection from 10 Minnesota cities over a five-year period. Total revenue in bars and restaurants was .026 percent higher in locations with a smoking ordinance versus those that had no ordinance.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the Post-Bulletin newspaper, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel


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