Smoking Ban study ( .PDF )
Topeka A statewide ban on smoking indoors in public places hasn't stopped the flow of alcohol, according to a study released Friday.
The Kansas Health Institute analysis concluded "there is no apparent evidence that smoking bans in Kansas have been associated with a decrease in statewide restaurant and bar sales, or with a decrease in the number of establishments serving liquor."
After four years of debate, the Legislature in 2010 approved the Clean Indoor Act, which generally prohibited smoking in restaurants, bars, places of employment, as well as outdoor smoking close to doorways.
The measure was aimed at protecting the public health by reducing second-hand smoke. However, some restaurant and bar owners fought the initiative, saying it would hurt business.
The KHI analysis looked at restaurant and bar sales for eight years prior to the statewide ban and two years after and found sales continued to increase. The same was true for alcoholic beverage licenses as bars, private clubs, caterers, hotels and winery outlets and microbreweries have all seen an increase.
Although there was no statewide decrease in the liquor business, the study does say that individual businesses could have been affected positively or negatively "as the marketplace adjusted to the new regulations."
In fact, by the time the statewide law was approved, 60 percent of the Kansas population was living under city or county smoke-free policies. The city of Lawrence was the first in Kansas with a smoking ban in 2004.
The KHI report says its findings are consistent with other states.
Since its implementation, some have complained about an exception in the law for state-owned casinos. Casino operators have said eliminating smoking would reduce gambling and revenue to the state.
And there have been attempts to weaken the ban. Last year, a House committee approved a bill that would have allowed smoking in any private business that has only patrons and employees who are at least of legal drinking age.
But Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the Kansas University Cancer Center, told legislators that weakening the law could have hurt KU's efforts to get National Cancer Institute designation for the Cancer Center. Later, the House voted to send the measure back to committee.