Saturday, December 11, 2010

Study claims that smoking ban will cost 50,000 jobs

Pretty much every country that has instituted smoking bans has found them highly popular, great for public health, and with minimal impact on sales at bars and pubs. Given this, it was somewhat curious to see a report by IEE in Madrid claiming that the upcoming Spanish ban would cost 50,000 jobs (as seen in The Reader). The report itself was somewhat strange, since it spent the first 3/4 just talking about the importance of the hospitality industry in Spain. The meat of the report was just two pages (38 and 39) that claim that international experience shows a negative impact on bar and restaurant sales. In Ireland, the report claims that the law decreased sales by 3.8% when the law came into effect in 2004.

For the Irish experience, he quotes a study by Fenton Howell, which he cherry-picks to reach the desired conclusion. If you look up the actual report (“Smoke-free bars in Ireland: a runaway success”), you would come up with a slightly different conclusion.

The conclusion of the report starts to channel Ayn Rand and makes you wonder about the report’s objectivity:

Public policies are a radical intervention against sovereignty consumer freedom of choice of the individual, can generate effects economic evil to go against free enterprise. Thus, whenever there a clearly defined property rights over the air of the place no better than its owner, ie the owner of the restaurant, bar, café ... to decide how, when and where smoking is allowed and is obviously more interested in maximize the welfare of their customers may freely compensate their workers having to inhale second-hand smoke and they remain free to accept such compensation or change jobs.

The intrusion into the sphere of privacy that can make these policies tobacco control interventions that go beyond informing and warning on the dangers of tobacco and regulating sales to minors, violate not only against consumer sovereignty, but against free enterprise.


Anonymous said...

Many small working class neighborhood bars are forced to ignore the ban to stay in business. As a result, Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Chantix and Nicoderm, is giving new money to it's many tax exempt political action committees to help lobby for more enforcement. If more enforcement is needed, they themselves admit that the statement that bans are good for business is obviously another myth.

Here are their tax exempt political action committees;

And the new enforcement grant money;

santcugat said...

The presence of cheating doesn't necessarily mean that the ban is bad for business overall. It may just be that some pub owners think they can take business from other pubs by turning a blind eye to smokers.

Ashleigh said...

I doubt it will cost 50,000 jobs...if they can do it in NYC and Vegas, they can do it anywhere...

santcugat said...

Unfortunately in Madrid the regional government looks like it will do its best to sabotage the ban.