Smoking bans: Not responsible for everything



Bar owners blame the smoking bans enacted in Kansas City, Missouri, and its suburbs for ruining their business and for starting World War I. (Gavrilo Princip saw a future where Serbian-Americans couldn't light up in midtown bars, so he shot the archduke of Austria.) But a study of communities in Minnesota finds that removing the ashtrays has a negligible effect on employment.

Researchers at Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota used state job data to track bar and restaurant workers over a 45-month period. Cities with comprehensive smoking bans saw a decrease of 9 workers per 10,000 residents when compared to cities with partial bans. But communities with any prohibition in place (full or partial) gained 3 workers per 10,000 residents compared to places with no bans.

Emily Klein, one of the authors, says the lack of a significant economic effect "should give us more support for maintaining the most beneficial public health policies."

Important caveat: A nonprofit group dedicated to "reducing tobacco's harm" funded the study.

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