To the editor:
While business owners may feel threatened by the fact that there could be a ban against smoking workplaces, studies have shown that there is not a negative impact on the economy when a smoking ban is implemented; I understand business owners see an increase in revenue.
According to www.joechemo.org, a Web site that addresses these issues, clean indoor air ordinances have proven to reduce medical costs and lost work time due to secondhand smoke-related illnesses. One study indicated that businesses face additional costs of $1,300 per year for each employee who smokes due to higher health insurance claims and costs, plus maintenance and cleaning costs for furniture, draperies and carpeting. And, www.tobaccofreekids.org finds that New York City's smoke-free law did not harm the restaurant industry, and there is no evidence that the hotel industry had been adversely affected by the smoke-free ordinance.
Another Web site, www.no-smoke.org, cites that many cities, including Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colo.; Boston and Chapel Hill, N.C., have implemented a 100 percent smoking ban and have seen positive results. The state of Massachusetts conducted a statewide comparison of 239 communities, which revealed local smoke-free ordinances do not harm businesses. Taxable meal receipts data was collected from more than 1,000 restaurants nationwide from 1992 to 1999; restaurant sales in towns with strong smoking restrictions experienced a slightly faster rate of growth than in towns without such restrictions.
A 100 percent smoking ban in Lawrence would not only improve health and business costs, I believe business owners would also see an increase in sales.