Smoking ban isn't hurting TC business, study shows

The argument that the smoking bans enacted in Minneapolis in 2005 and St. Paul in 2006 would hurt local bars and restaurants is being refuted by a recent study, which shows that the number of employees working at food and drink establishments has remained the same or even risen since the laws took effect. Research published in the Journal of Public Health Management Practice was conducted to gauge the economic impact of the ban. The research, funded by a grant from the nonprofit ClearWay Minnesota, used employment statistics as a measuring stick. Here's what the researchers found:

Since the law was enacted, the study showed, employment has increased 3 percent In Minneapolis restaurants and 5 to 6 percent in bars. St. Paul saw a decrease of 1 percent--which statistically is considered "no change." The clean indoor air policy was initiated to protect both employees and the public from second hand smoke.The findings correspond with research on smoking bans in bars and restaurants in California and areas of Australia and Canada, said lead researcher Elizabeth Klein, an assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State University. "These findings underscore that nothing economically catastrophic happened for bars or restaurants in the Twin Cities as a result of banning smoking in these environments," said Klein.

The statistics represent the hospitality business as a whole, the authors say, and may not reflect the results of individual businesses or every part of the two cities.

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