Tourism and hotel revenues before and after passage of smoke-free restaurant ordinances

JAMA. 1999 May 26;281(20):1911-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.281.20.1911.


Context: Claims that ordinances requiring smoke-free restaurants will adversely affect tourism have been used to argue against passing such ordinances. Data exist regarding the validity of these claims.

Objective: To determine the changes in hotel revenues and international tourism after passage of smoke-free restaurant ordinances in locales where the effect has been debated.

Design: Comparison of hotel revenues and tourism rates before and after passage of 100% smoke-free restaurant ordinances and comparison with US hotel revenue overall.

Setting: Three states (California, Utah, and Vermont) and 6 cities (Boulder, Colo; Flagstaff, Ariz; Los Angeles, Calif; Mesa, Ariz; New York, NY; and San Francisco, Calif) in which the effect on tourism of smoke-free restaurant ordinances had been debated.

Main outcome measures: Hotel room revenues and hotel revenues as a fraction of total retail sales compared with preordinance revenues and overall US revenues.

Results: In constant 1997 dollars, passage of the smoke-free restaurant ordinance was associated with a statistically significant increase in the rate of change of hotel revenues in 4 localities, no significant change in 4 localities, and a significant slowing in the rate of increase (but not a decrease) in 1 locality. There was no significant change in the rate of change of hotel revenues as a fraction of total retail sales (P=.16) or total US hotel revenues associated with the ordinances when pooled across all localities (P = .93). International tourism was either unaffected or increased following implementation of the smoke-free ordinances.

Conclusion: Smoke-free ordinances do not appear to adversely affect, and may increase, tourist business.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce / economics
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Housing / economics
  • Housing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Policy Making
  • Public Health
  • Restaurants / economics
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Restaurants / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • Travel / economics
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution