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State smoking ban good for business

Publication Date: 4/23/2008
  • Author:Editorial
  • Publication:Jackson Citizen Patriot

If the clear health dangers and trends nationwide don't sway our state lawmakers, here's yet another reason to ban smoking in Michigan restaurants: It's not bad for business.

A study last week makes that conclusion. Let's hope that can persuade the Legislature at last to approve the good idea that restaurants should be smoke-free. Or are they too blinded by the smoke to do that?

The private firm Public Sector Consultants looked at the track record of cities and states that have complete or partial bans on restaurant smoking. From 43 studies, the "vast majority" found no economic impact on business. California and Minnesota restaurants even saw increased activity the year after smoking bans took effect.

Yes, the study was commissioned by the Coalition for Smokefree Air, hardly a neutral party in this debate. But its conclusions make complete sense. How many people think twice before going to Las Vegas because they can't smoke in restaurants there? Or Chicago? Or New York City?

The fact is that advocates of public smoking are swimming upstream on this issue. As they should be: No less than the U.S. surgeon general has said the correct public-health approach is to rid restaurants of smoking altogether. That's for the health of customers and the people who work there.