Impact on Businesses

Smoke-Free Policies Are Good For Businesses

Smoking lowers your businesses resale value. Restaurants in smoke-free cities have a higher market value at resale (an average of 16 percent higher) than comparable restaurants located in smoke-filled cities.1   Allowing patrons to smoke increases cleaning costs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that smoke-free restaurants can expect to save about $190 per 1,000 square feet each year in lower cleaning and maintenance costs.2 Allowing employees to smoke increases personnel costs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts a $3,391 price tag on each employee who smokes: $1,760 in lost productivity and $1,623 in excess medical expenditures.3

The American Productivity Audit, a national survey of over 29,000 workers, found that tobacco use was a leading cause of worker lost production time—greater than alcohol abuse or family emergencies.4  National statistics indicate that smokers are absent 50 percent more often than nonsmokers, and that smokers’ mortality rate is three times that of nonsmokers.5

There are many examples of local communities in Colorado going smoke-free with no negative impact on business. In fact, some businesses even saw an increase in business as the result of going smoke-free. In 2003 Pueblo passed Pueblo Smoke Free Air Act (PSFAA) which prohibited smoking in public places and work places. Opponents said it would hurt businesses, but studies found that “This ordinance may have contributed to a net increase in sales tax revenues for the city of Pueblo” and “the confidence Pueblo’s business sector had in the local hospitality industry was not negatively influenced by the PSFAA.”6   After passage of a smoke-free ordinance in Boulder, Colorado, revenues were up 4.1 percent when compared to the same period before the ordinance.7 Studies of sales tax data from Aspen, Snowmass and Telluride demonstrated that smoke-free ordinances in restaurants had no negative effect on revenues.8

1. Business Costs In Smoke-filled Environments. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, 2006.
2. U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)Business Costs In Ibid.
3. “Voters across the country express strong support for smoke-free laws.” Tobacco Free Kids, 2011.
4. Guide to a Smoke-Free Workplace. GASP Colorado, 2011.
5. Ibid.
6. “Boulder’s Smoke-Free Ordinance Makes Good Cents for Restaurants and Bar,” GASP of Colorado, 2000.
7. “Smoke-free Restaurant Ordinances Do Not Affect Restaurant Business. Period.” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 1999.
8. Ibid.