Saturday, November 20, 2004
Smoking Ban Winners
Tony Blair's government announced plans this week to adopt a New York City-style workplace smoking ban, one that would extend to most pubs and restaurants. Much of the debate about the wisdom of smoking bans centers around dubious claims of economic impacts, on both sides: do bans keep smokers away from bars and restaurants, does a smoke-free environment attract more non-smoking customers, and which of these two possible effects is likely to dominate? I don't think we have good answers to these questions, nor do I think that these sorts of economic projections should be determinative in whether or not a ban is a good idea. (Vice Squad does not favor public smoking bans, but is not opposed on principle to some public smoking regulations, short of a ban.)
A recent BBC article has pointed out some businesses that seem to have been helped by previously-adopted smoking bans, however:
In Ireland, outdoor heaters and wall-mounted ashtrays are springing up outside numerous establishments to accommodate their smoking customers, sparking a boom for those industries.Thanks to a Friend (and former student) of Vice Squad for a pointer to the NY Times article on the plans for a British smoking ban.
Worcester-based firm Fiesta Heaters said outdoor heater sales to Ireland in the year to October had surged 178% from the year before.
"The ban has worked wonders for my trade in Ireland and I'm looking forward to it coming in over here," owner and director Mark Fletcher said.
The ban could also see more innovative ways of getting around the ban coming to prominence.
In Florida, punters had the Nicotini - a tobacco spiked martini - to take the edge off their cravings.
Meanwhile in Norway the sales of snus - a plug of snuff-style tobacco popped behind the lip - soared in the wake of a public smoking ban, with makers expecting double digit growth in the years to come.