Three surveys of firms and restaurants in Quebec were carried out to address concerns about the economic impact of impending legislation regulating employee tobacco use and smoking in restaurants.
Altogether 600 firms and 401 restaurants took part.
The proposed legislation required the establishment of designated smoking areas, with direct evacuation of smoke outside the building in all firms and restaurants except bars.
The legislation allowed for a complete ban on smoking if the legislation was thought too expensive to implement.
Almost half of the representative sample of firms, and over two-thirds of the large firms already had a policy regulating smoking in place.
It was found that over half of large firms without a policy would opt to impose a smoking ban rather than incur costs for building designated non-smoking areas. Anticipated costs for complying with the law were larger than actual costs, but still represented a minimal fraction of revenue.
|Of restaurant owners who complied with the smoking policy, 80% did not expect a fall in their profits.|
Two-thirds of restaurant owners did not want to impose a smoking ban in their establishments, but said that they would choose not to provide a smoking section in response to the law.
60% of restaurant owners without a smoking policy expected a fall in revenue, but none of those who had already complied expected this. 80% of those who had already complied with some degree did not expect to see a drop in profits either.
The researchers commented, "The results show that even in a high smoking prevalence area such as Quebec, a relatively strict law regulating smoking on-the-job and in restaurants is unlikely to have any major negative economic impact on either industry.
"The expectations of non-compliant firms and restaurants are likely to be overstated."