More people go to bars following smoking ban

by Jenny Novac on June 9, 2011

CONTRARY to complaints from bar and restaurant owners about lost business due to the smoking ban, a new study shows that in fact more people are going out now that the establishments are smoke-free.

In a survey carried out by the Spanish Society for Family and Community Medicine (SemFYC), 70 per cent of respondents said they go out to bars and restaurants with the same frequency as before the ban, while 18 per cent said they go out more and just 12 per cent said they go out less.

More people go to bars following smoking ban

According to the survey – carried out at health centres among 4,000 people including smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers – 86 per cent of respondents believe that the smoking ban will result in improved health for the general public, while 93 per cent say it will improve the health of children and of hostelry workers. Even 50 per cent of smokers say they would be against going back to allowing smoking in bars and restaurants.

This year some 36 per cent of smokers have attempted to quit, compared to 31 per cent last year and 25 per cent the year before. “There is no question that the [smoking] restrictions have a positive effect” on quit-smoking figures, he said.

Despite the study’s findings, bar and restaurant owners continue to maintain that the smoking ban is costing them money in lost business. Rafael Prado, president of the Aehma hostelry association in Málaga province, said the SemFYC study “does not correspond with reality.” Smokers are “the best customers of the restaurant and bar trade,” and the only establishments that may be benefitting are those with outdoor terraces, he said

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