Sunday, September 02, 2007

Smoking bad for bar business

I learnt from Hoyden that the ban on smoking has improved business in NSW bars. I forecast that it would – there is prior US evidence – but even I was surprised at the scale of the increase.

That business improves when smoking is eliminated is scarcely surprising. Around 83% of adult Australians don’t smoke and, in Victoria, 60% of smokers in bars said they favoured the restriction. A comparable change in Victoria also induced record activity in Quit services as the user cost of smoking rose in yet another area. The only 'adverse' effect seems to be on the revenues accruing to the poker machine operators which drop when smokers have to go outside for a smoke. By so doing they often recover their senses and don’t return to play the pokies.

Loss of revenue to poker machine operators and machine vendors is, of course, something we should celebrate - not something to worry about. Bankrupcies please!

Restrictions on smoking prevent deadly problems of passive smoking associated with the inhalation of secondary unfiltered tobacco smoke. They also increase the pressure on smokers to abandon this dangerous and stupid habit.

I do not follow Tim Blair and support giving bar-owners the right to operate smoking-accepted areas since (i) the secondary smoking problems continue to arise for bar employees - these are often unskilled workers who don't have much choice in accepting such working conditions - and (ii) the point is very much to increase the incentive of smokers to quit. Smoking is an irrational, destructive form of behaviour that the repressive, nanny state should gradually work to eliminate.

No, I am not a supporter of the Australian Libertarian Party!


conrad said...

I'm not surprised at that. There are lots of people like me that detest smelling foul and never go into smokey bars, and thats even moreso for resteraunts. Its funny that the smoking lobby always runs a loss-of-business scare campaign in every country that wants to change the laws slightly, yet the reality never follows.

Damien Eldridge said...

Harry, I aqm very anti-smoking in public places and places where many people congregate. Personally, I like the idea of baning smoking in any such place. Nonetheless, I find it difficult to believe that a ban on smoking increases the profitability of pubs. After all, if this is the case, why didn't the pub owners implement such a ban themselves? Maybe it increases patronage but decreases profit?

taust said...

off the smoking topic, but on the gambling topic.
Given that the smoko break disrupts gambling; has there been any other such measures put into place. I have a vague memory that an anti gambling group put forward a number of phsychological measures to control gambling.. e.g windows to the outside world,large clocks etc etc.

hc said...

Damien, Some bars have voluntarily moved to adopt anti-smoking rules. My own local bar in Eaglement did and patronage improved markedly. US evidence and now Ausrtralian evidence all points in the same direction.

Taust, They have tried clocks, windows and some have proposed shutting down machines for an interval.

Many pokie joints in Melbourne have a smoking room with a glass petition so gamblers never actually 'leave'.