Kentucky Economic Data

A study published online in Nicotine and Tobacco Research in 2011 examined the economic impact of smokefree air laws in rural and urban counties in Kentucky and Ohio. The authors wrote, "There is no evidence that the economies in Kentucky counties were affected in any way from the implementation of local smoke-free laws. There was also no evidence that total employment or the number of establishments was influenced by the statewide law in Ohio, but wages increased following the implementation of the law. Furthermore, there is no evidence that either rural or urban counties experienced a loss of economic activity following smoke-free legislation. The study finds no evidence that local or state smoke-free legislation negatively influences local economies in either rural or urban communities." [Pyles, M.K.; Hahn, E.J., "Economic effects of smoke-free laws on rural and urban counties in Kentucky and Ohio," Nicotine and Tobacco Research, [Epub ahead of print], August 2011.]

A September 2010 study examined the economic impact of Ohio's smokefree air law on hospitality businesses in twelve counties on the Ohio and Kentucky border, six counties per state. The authors found that, "There is no evidence of a disproportionate change in economic activity in Ohio or Kentucky border counties relative to their non-border counterparts. There was no evidence of a relation between Ohio's smoke-free law and economic activity in Kentucky border counties. The law generated a positive influence on wages and number of establishments in Ohio border counties." The authors added, "We find Kentucky and Ohio border counties did not disproportionately change economically from Ohio’s state smoke-free law. Any concern over a change in business activity should similar legislation be enacted in bordering northern Kentucky counties appears unfounded." [Pyles, M.K.; Hahn, E.J., "Economic effects of Ohio's smoke-free law on Kentucky and Ohio border counties," Tobacco Control [Epub ahead of print], September 24, 2010.]

Business in Lexington-Fayette County’s bars and restaurants has remained stable since the city’s comprehensive smokefree law, which made restaurants, bars, pool halls, and bingo parlors 100% smokefree, went into effect on April 27, 2004.

In October 2008, the University of Kentucky released a study, which found that Lexington's year-old smokefree ordinance had not affected business in the city's bars and restaurants. According to an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader, "The study looks at employment figures from restaurants, bars and hotels, business openings and closings and payroll withholding taxes since the ban went into effect in April 2004. It compares the post-ban numbers to the same data from up to five years before Lexington went smoke-free in most public places. 'Given the data we have to this point ... we're not seeing a post-ban effect,' said Eric Thompson, an economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the study's authors."

In 2007, a study published in the journal Tobacco Control examined the economic impact of a smokefree air law in Lexington, Kentucky. The study found that employment at Lexington restaurants grew by 3 percent after the smoke-free law went into effect, with an average of 400 employees added per month over 14 months. Bar employment remained stable over time. The comparison of restaurant and bar openings and closings showed no significant difference before and after the law, regardless of whether or not the establishment served alcohol. There were no changes in employment in either restaurants or bars in the six counties contiguous to Lexington-Fayette.

For more information, please read the press release and the full study.

This recent report reinforces the findings of a 2005 employment study which found that, since the smokefree law went into effect, restaurant employment increased, while the number of bar employees remained the same; and the number of licensed restaurants and bars opening and closing has remained stable, as well. See the news release or the study for more information.

In October 2004, the University of Kentucky conducted a public opinion study and found that 64% of Lexington residents supported that city's smokefree law, an increase from the 56.7% support when the law took effect in April 2004. See the news release, executive summary, and the study for more information.