Clean Air Anniversary Cause for Celebration
Smoke-Free law is good for health and business
TALLAHASSEE — Advance results of a new study show restaurant sales have increased since the implementation of the Smoke-Free Workplaces law, providing clear evidence that the new law is good for health and business.
Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the Smoke-Free for Health constitutional amendment in November of 2002. The ban on smoking in most Florida workplaces went into effect last July.
“Protecting Floridians from the dangers of secondhand smoke has always been our number one goal,” said Marty Larsen, volunteer chairperson for Smoke-Free for Health. “The health benefits are clear but we are now seeing that what is good for health, is also good for business.”
According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, the smoke-free amendment has not had a negative impact on the hotel, restaurant or tourism industries. Complete results will be released Monday by Smoke-Free for Health.
“The objective of our study was to assess the economic impact of the indoor workplace smoking restriction on businesses that previously allowed smoking,” explained Professor David Denslow, a nationally renowned researcher who served as senior advisor for the study. “Sales and employment in the leisure and hospitality industry in Florida have increased since the restriction went into effect.”
The Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the University of Florida is an applied research center whose mission is to collect data and conduct research on economic, demographic, and business trends in Florida and to provide information to public and private decision makers in Florida and throughout the nation.
Some critics incorrectly guessed that the smoking law would cause restaurants to lose business to bars and taverns where smoking is still allowed but sales data indicates otherwise. The study, which was funded by Smoke-Free For Health, found that while sales for restaurants, lunchrooms and catering services were up by 7.37 percent after the law, there was no significant change in the sales of taverns, nightclubs and bars. Employment in Florida’s leisure and hospitality industry climbed nearly 2 percent after the smoking restriction took effect, bolstered by a 4.53 percent employment increase in drinking and eating establishments. The study took into account current trends, economic conditions and seasonal factors affecting Florida’s leisure and hospitality business.
“These gains refute any notion that the restriction on smoking in Florida’s indoor workplaces is bad for business,” Larsen said. “As the smoke clears, we are seeing that restaurants are thriving and Floridians are reaping the health benefits of clean air.”
An earlier study by three leading University of California researchers calculated the health benefits of the smoke-free amendment, based on the assumption that Amendment Six would be implemented and enforced as intended. That study concluded that in the first year alone, the amendment would result in:
“We remain concerned that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Health have proposed lenient implementing rules, which are to contain official enforcement guidelines,” Larsen said. “This has led to inconsistent compliance in some areas, but overall we know Floridians are breathing easier thanks to the smoking restrictions. We will continue to encourage strict and consistent enforcement.”
Secondhand smoke is a Group A Carcinogen – a substance known to cause cancer in humans and from which there is no safe level of exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Toxicology Program. Secondhand smoke contains 4,000 substances, including formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, benzene, tar and radioactive polonium-210. More than 40 of these substances are known or suspected to cause cancer in humans.
“No one should have to risk their health to hold a job,” Larsen said. “All workers deserve the respect and dignity of a safe, smoke-free workplace.
Smoke-Free for Health represents a coalition of groups committed to protecting Floridians from the dangers of second-hand smoke. These include the American Cancer Society-Florida Division, American Heart Association-Florida/Puerto Rico Affiliate, American Lung Association of Florida and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Restaurant Licenses are Up After Smoking Ban Enactment
Floridians are breathing easier now that smoking has been banned in indoor workplaces, and the smoking ban hasn’t had the detrimental effect on restaurants that opponents threatened, according to data from the state’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
In a Feb. 11 article in Florida Today, Geoff Luebkemann, director of the division, said there is no evidence that any restaurants have closed because of the smoking ban. In fact, there are more restaurants today than when Smoke-Free For Health Amendment went into effect.
“I have no hard evidence of even a single incidence. Certainly, we have not closed anyone,” Luebkemann said. “The state registered a net gain of 1,344 licensed food establishments in the calendar year ended Feb. 6. That’s plus 3.24 percent for the year.”
Seventy-one percent of voters supported Amendment 6 in 2002, which declared that enclosed indoor workplaces should be smoke-free. The new law was implemented on July 1, 2003.
How to Report Non-compliance
The Florida Clean Indoor Air Act was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1985. It is the purpose of the Act to protect people from the hazards of second-hand tobacco smoke and to implement the Florida health initiative in s. 20, Art. X of the state constitution.
To report non-compliance in enclosed indoor workplace settings, call 1-800-3FRESH-AIR or 1-800-337-3742.
Florida’s Smoke-Free Workplace Laws Explained
following information helps explain what is and what is not covered by
the smoke-free workplace provisions of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.
DISCLAIMER: The following is only a general guide and shall not be relied upon as legal advice or as a complete or accurate summary of all the provisions contained in Florida Statutes on the regulation of smoking.
Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid for by Smoke-Free for Health