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Study Finds Bars Won't Be Harmed by Smoking Law

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Many restaurants and bar owners across the state say a new smoking-ban will hurt their business. But a recent study says it could actually help generate revenues.

The new "no smoking" law goes into effect July 24th. Smoking will be prohibited at bars, restaurants and places of employment, including hotels. But a study published in the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly suggests businesses should not worry. Editor Michael Sturman says many businesses fear job and revenue losses. He says the study looked at the impact of smoke free regulations by examining areas that already have smoke-free dinning including counties like Erie and Monroe.

"The counties in general had no loss of employment, in fact, employment levels went up," Sturman said. "In general, economic condition were better.

"What this study suggests is that smoke-free regulation are not going to have any kind of negative impact when they begin across the entire state."

But many of the small corner tavern owners fear business will suffer from the new smoking rule. However, Sturman says based on the study results, it won't prevent people from going out for a good time.

"Much of going out is social, to be with friends and people who frequent the same restaurant for the atmosphere," Sturman said. "I believe people are still going to keep going out to eat and drink. There may be some initial adjustments to the new regulation, but as the study suggests, I don't believe there's going to be any significant impact even on small establishments."

Lead author of the study was cancer research scientist Andrew Hyland of Roswell Park in Buffalo. He says the new rules should be welcomed as an opportunity to protect the health of workers and patrons.

And Sturman says the study also indicates that a smoke-free workplace actually kept employees healthier, meaning less healthcare costs to the state and taxpayers.