1994 Glantz Restaurant Study

The effect of ordinances requiring smoke-free restaurants on restaurant sales

Glantz S, Smith L.
American Journal of Public Health 1994;84(7):1081-1085

This landmark study, done in 1994, was the first comprehensive study of the effect of legislation requiring smokefree restaurants on restaurant revenues; it found that smokefree restaurant ordinances do not harm restaurant sales. The study found that the effects of smokefree laws were similar for all types of restaurants, as defined by the kind of alcoholic beverages served on the premises, if any.

This analysis was based on sales tax data reported to the California Board of Equalization and the Colorado State Department of Revenue, and studied both restaurant sales as a fraction of total retail sales and restaurant sales in cities with smokefree restaurant ordinances versus sales in comparison cities with no such ordinance. Either of these ratios would have dropped if the smokefree ordinances had led to a decrease in restaurant or bar sales.

The study also is important in that it debunked tobacco industry claims that the California cities of Beverly Hills and Bellflower (both of which repealed their restaurant ordinances following opposition) had a 30% decrease in restaurant sales resulting from their smokefree ordinances. Not only did neither city experience an upswing in restaurant sales following repeal of their ordinance, but the Bellflower ordinance actually was associated with a significant increase in restaurant sales while it was in effect.