Vier New Yorkse horeca organisaties hebben Wales gewaarschuwd voor de gevolgen van rookverboden in hun sector. Wales maakt zich op om over vier jaar een rookverbod in de horeca in te voeren maar de ervaren New Yorkse organisaties raden de Welshmen aan geen rapporten te geloven die zouden bewijzen dat er geen economische gevolgen van een rookverbod te duchten zijn.
Hún ervaring is duidelijk anders, schrijven zijn, aangezien is gebleken dat het New Yorkse nachtleven miljoenen dollars schade heeft geleden en 2500 banen heeft verloren sinds de instelling van het algehele rookverbod in de Big Apple.
In their submission to the Committee on Smoking in Public Places, the New York Nightlife Association, the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association and the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners, said smokers must be allowed back in bars to smoke in designated areas with air-filtration systems.
In written evidence to the committee, David Rabin, Scott Wexler, Des O’Brien and Brian Nolan, representing the three organisations, said, “The latest statistics from an independent report are damning in terms of the economic effect the ban has had on the hospitality industry in New York.
“In one year, New York’s bars and taverns and their suppliers have lost 2,600 jobs, $50m in wages and $70m in production – although anti-smoking supporters have accused them of misrepresenting the impact.”
Smoking was banned in New York in 2003 by mayor Michael Bloomberg and an extra $1.50 tax was levied on a pack of cigarettes.
New York city officials said after the first year of the ban about 100,000 smokers quit the habit and seven million fewer cigarettes were smoked. But subsequent New York government claims that hospitality industry revenue and jobs have increased – up 9% and by 10,600 jobs respectively – after the ban have been disputed by bar and pub owners. They claim the real downturn in revenue and employment in pubs and bars has been masked because the ban was introduced post 9/11 in the midst of a recession.
“A different picture would emerge if today’s hospitality figures were compared to those from 2000,” the bar and restaurant owners’ representatives said in evidence to the Assembly.
The concerns of the hospitality trade in New York echoe those of pub owners, especially small pubs, in Wales who claim a total smoking ban would sound the death knell for many of them. Gareth John, of the Licensed Victuallers Wales, believes such a move would force a quarter of the nation’s 3,836 pubs – more than 900 – to shut.