Objectives: Clean indoor air (CIA) policies have been adopted by communities across the United States and internationally to protect employees in all workplaces from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Concerns have been raised that banning smoking in workplaces, particularly in bars and restaurants, will result in severe, negative economic effects. Although objective studies have consistently found no significant economic effects from CIA policies, the concerns persist that CIA policies will negatively affect hospitality businesses.
Methods: Employment in bars and restaurants in Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota, was independently evaluated over a five-year period during which CIA policies were established in each city. An interrupted time series analysis was used to evaluate the short-, intermediate, and longer-term economic effects of the local CIA policies, accounting for the rest of the hospitality industry.
Results: The CIA polices were associated with an increase of three percent to four percent in employment for restaurants in Minneapolis and St Paul, after accounting for the rest of the hospitality industry. The CIA policies were inconsistent in their association with bar employment. A comprehensive CIA policy in Minneapolis was associated with an increase of five percent to six percent in bar employment, and St Paul had a one percent nonsignificant decrease in bar employment. The CIA policies continue to yield the best protection against workplace exposure to environmental tobacco smoke for bars and restaurant employees and were not associated with large employment changes for the short or longer term in two urban Midwestern cities in the United States.