Bar Patronage after a Smoking Ban

By Menke, J. Michael | Journal of Drug Issues, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Bar Patronage after a Smoking Ban


Menke, J. Michael, Journal of Drug Issues


On May 1, 2005, the city of Flagstaff, Arizona enacted a smoking ban in standalone bars. All other establishments already had smoking bans in place for at least three years. Trained observers carried air monitoring equipment and counted lit cigarettes and patrons on two weekends before and four weekends after the ban. Monthly hospitality revenues from 2003 to 2006 were also collected from the Coconino County Tax Assessor's office and analyzed for changes after the ban. Air quality improved immediately by 87% in bars, with no appreciable decrease in the total bar revenues over the next three years. All hospitality businesses experienced a general leveling off of growth after the ban, suggesting a change in more general economic factors. As an industry, hospitality was unaffected by the smoking ban, though individual establishments could have been adversely affected. The standalone bar industry revenue continued to increase after the ban. Alcohol and cigarette co-consumption was not supported.

INTRODUCTION

On May 1, 2005, two years before the implementation of a statewide SmokeFree Arizona Act prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces and worksites, the city of Flagstaff, Arizona extended a smoking ban already in effect for public buildings, worksites, hotels, and restaurants to include standalone bars. One item of acute interest was whether bar business in Flagstaff would be affected. A study of air quality and bar revenue before and after the ban would not only provide a lens with which to view nicotine and alcohol co-addiction and interdependent behavior, but would carry important policy implications for the feasibility and acceptability of tobacco-free initiatives in a other clinical and community settings.

The present study is one of several recent naturalistic studies conducted after smoking bans in Italy (Barone-Adesi, Vizzini, Merletti, & Richiardi, 2006; Cesaroni et al., 2008), Ohio (Khuder et al., 2007), Indiana (Seo & Torabi, 2007), Montana (Sargent, Shepard, & Glantz, 2004), Colorado (Bartecchi et al., 2006), New York (Juster et al., 2007), and Wisconsin (Ahrens, Uebelher, & Remington, 2005). These studies have measured compliance after a smoking ban by continuous air sampling or other indicators. Smoking bans are associated with an immediate reduction in local acute myocardial infarctions from exposure to passive smoke and heart muscle reactive stiffening (Sargent et al., 2004). Acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs) decreased after smoking bans. Decreases ranged from 1 1 .6% in Italians less than 65 years old, (Barone-Adesi et al, 2006; Cesaroni et al., 2008) to 45% in Helena, Montana for a single year of a total smoking ban (Sargent et al., 2004). A precipitous drop of 27% of AMIs post-ban was also reported in Pueblo, Colorado (Bartecchi et al., 2006). Khuder et al. (2007) found the benefit of lowered risk for AMI increased over three years after the ban.

While smoking bans may have a positive impact on community health, local owners of standalone bars may be especially vulnerable if the habitual linkage or co-addiction between tobacco and alcohol use is strong. (Hyland & Cummings, 1999a, 1999b; Hyland, Cummings, & Wilson, 1999; Miller, Wakefield, Kriven, & Hyland, 2002). If contemporaneous use of nicotine and alcohol is fundamentally social, bar business should be largely unaffected by a smoking ban. If co-use is a strong addiction, the inconvenience imposed by the prohibition to smoke may drive business away from the bars.

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN DRINKING AND SMOKING

Perhaps less dramatic because of their ubiquitous presence and legal status, nicotine and alcohol are often consumed together for physiological and/or social reasons. Both drugs stimulate dopamine release, and work synergistically to increase dopamine levels. (Le Foil, Gallo, Le Strat, Lu, & Gorwood, 2009; Tizabi, Bai, Copeland, & Taylor, 2007) The mutually reinforcing nature of consuming these two drugs together may increase addiction to both (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA], 1998). …

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