Restaurant association survey based on ‘flawed & scaremongering’ assumptions

Thursday 17 September 1998

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press releaseEmbargo 00:01 17th September 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

Restaurant Association survey based on “flawed and scare-mongering”assumptions

Commenting on the Restaurant Association’s survey published today which claimsthat restaurateurs will lose money if smoking is banned in restaurants, Clive Bates,Director of ASH, said: “They based the survey on the false premise that smoking is tobe banned in all restaurants, but this isn’t even under discussion. What matters isthat some space made available for the 72% majority that don’t smoke and, in general,don’t like having their meal flavoured with other people’s smoke. Restaurateursshould also do all they reasonably can to protect the people that work for hours at a timein restaurants.”

Bates added, “even if smoking was banned completely, a survey last week [2] showedthat only one in four smokers said they would stop going to restaurants if smoking wasbanned. Thus a small minority of the minority that smoke could be lost as customers. Acomplete ban on smoking would also bring in new customers – three and a half millionpeople in Britain have asthma and many people avoid smoky places altogether.”

Where there has been a ban, actual surveys of the financial impact as measured by taxreturns show a very different result – “Experience from California has shown thatsmoking restrictions do not result in hardship for restaurateurs – such measures have aneutral effect on trade.” [1] said Bates.

“The real issue here in Britain in 1998, which the Restaurant Association fails toaddress, is that of offering consumer choice. There is no war on smokers but restaurantsshould give much greater thought to the large majority of people who don’t smoke.”

[1] Glantz SA and Smith RA. American Journal of PublicHealth 4 November 1997. The study examined bars in seven locations in California withsmoking bans and compared these to locations with no smoking ban. Sales tax data from 1991revealed no economic impact as a result of banning smoking. The authors also updated anearlier study examining restaurants, and again showed no economic impact.

[2] Fair Cigarette Tax Campaign, 9 September “Smokersfight for their right to party”



Contact Clive Bates, Director 0171 224 0743 or 0181 800 1336 (hm), 0468 791237 (mbl best on Sun.)
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director 0171 224 0743 or 0181 257 3501 (hm)

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