Here’s an Express News article from last Sunday about the effect that municipal ordinances that have banned smoking in bars and restaurants have had on those establishments. Interestingly, the main place it goes for anecdotal evidence is Houston.
Lizzard’s Pub, a bar tucked away in the River Oaks neighborhood on this city’s near West Side, hasn’t been quite the same since the City Council banned smoking in bars three years ago, owner Elizabeth Knox says.
“In the first three months, business dropped a good 30 percent because people were angry,” Knox said. “Now, those people ended up coming back.”
Others in the Houston bar industry said their customers didn’t waver when the city went smoke-free — a step San Antonio’s City Council could soon take.
“I don’t think it affected too many places in Houston,” said Joe Jackson, general manager of the Ginger Man, a beer-and-wine pub in Rice Village. “We knew we’d be OK.”
In September 2007, when Houston banned smoking in bars, Jackson said he didn’t see a drop in sales.
“Once you get used to it, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “It didn’t affect a lot of the places that thought they were going to be affected by it.”
This totally doesn’t surprise me, but then I support these ordinances, so take that with whatever amount of salt you like. The story notes a number of economic impact studies cited by the pro- and anti-smoking forces, and again to my subjective perspective, the anti-smoking side seems to have the better of it. It was amusing to me to see the pro-smoking forces come out in droves in the comments to my previous post. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see them scoring a whole lot of victories in recent years. They’re fighting to not have to retreat any more, and there’s not a whole lot of friendly turf for them. It’s not just a matter of legislation, it’s a matter of society. Smoking isn’t acceptable to a large portion of the population, and that isn’t going to change.
But who knows, maybe they’ll hold serve in San Antonio, at least for now. I still believe that a statewide ordinance will pass sooner or later, so as far as that goes I’m not too worried about it. Cary Clack and Veronica Flores-Paniagua, both of whom discuss the racial aspect of these protests that was raised by LULAC and the NAACP, have more.