Lawmakers say that smoking bans make us healthier, but some economic research indicates that the bans make for bad business. All three "racinos" in Delaware reported revenue declines after smoking bans went into effect, as did many bars and restaurants in Columbia, Mo. As business declines, owners must resort to laying off employees. There may be better ways to handle this issue than passing smoking bans, however; these alternatives may allow cheeseburger lovers to eat their favorite restaurant meal without worrying about the possible health hazards of second-hand smoke.
Learn more about these issues in an article by Michael Pakko, an economist and research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Read his article on the topic, Clearing the Haze? New Evidence on the Economic Impact of Smoking Bans, in the January 2008 issue of The Regional Economist.