Een terugloop van de omzet van een bar met 20% is vrij normaal na een
rookverbod. Dat zeggen bareigenaren uit New York en New Jersey waar de
rookverboden inmiddels zo’n drie jaar van kracht zijn. Enkele bareigenaren
spreken zelfs van een halvering van hun omzet.
Ook melden de eigenaren dat zo’n 25% van de collega’s in de afgelopen jaren
door het rookverbod hun café hebben moeten sluiten.
En toch blijven de anti-rokengroepen volhouden dat er geen economische schade
Business owners, industry experts and economists seem to almost universally agree that the bans in New York and in New Jersey have had significantly detrimental effects on sales, although estimates vary as to the precise impact on business. Experts say traditional bars and taverns – particularly ones in working-class neighborhoods with high smoking rates – have been affected the most, while nightclubs and restaurants have seen smaller drops in business. Some restaurants have reported an increase in business.
Government statistics downplay the losses, but even those numbers show a clearly negative effect on most establishments.
“There’s no question … that the smoking bans have hurt the taverns and the bars,” said Scott Wexler, the executive director of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association.
He said a loss of about 20 percent of sales has been typical.
“People have seen gains from the floor, closing the gap in the losses. But most of my members are still doing less business today than they were before the ban … About 25 percent of our member establishments closed over the last three years.”
John Dunham, who is the principal of Guerilla Economics in New York and has published several studies analyzing smoking bans, said there is no questioning the negative effect the bans have on businesses.
“I personally as an economist think a business should cater to its customers, and if a bar has smoking customers, it should cater to that,” he said.
Wexler said that, even when people go to bars, they spend more time outside smoking and less time inside spending money.
“People don’t go to bars to drink,” he said. “It’s cheaper to drink at home. They go to bars and taverns to socialize. When the social environment becomes less hospitable, they find other ways to do it.”
The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia)