Sunday, September 19, 2004

Does banning smoking increase trade?

The Times reports that banning smoking in restaurants would increase trade.
However, the data for this claim seem to be hypothetical: more than 1/3 of the 4000 diners questioned for the 2005 Zagat guide claim they would eat out more frequently if a ban were imposed. The article then rather spuriously suggests that this fact supports a ban.

Does anyone know of any solid research into the effect of smoking bans on trade in restaurants/pubs?
My immediate thought is if this were true, why would restraunts not ban smoking voluntarily? A fair few do ban pipes/cigars and some cigarettes but there seems to be large international variation.
Since some restaurants ban smoking voluntarily, why have these respondents implied they need a ban to eat out more when they can already eat in smoke free atmospheres? Would the ban reduce the cost to them of searching for smoke free restaurants (or do they just enjoy banning things?)

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