The influence of a smoking ban on the profitability of Belgian restaurants

Tob Control. 2013 May;22(e1):e33-6. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050283. Epub 2012 Apr 29.


Objective: To examine whether the nationwide smoking ban, imposed in 2007, had an impact on the profitability of Belgian restaurants.

Data and methods: Objective financial reporting data on 1613 restaurants were analysed with return on assets as the outcome measure. The data were collected from the Belfirst database and cover the period 2004-2009. To assess the impact of the smoking ban, a differences-in-differences estimation method was used, with bars serving as the control group. The regression model was estimated, while controlling for firm-specific characteristics and unobserved firm-level heterogeneity.

Results: The variable of interest is the interaction between the smoking ban dummy and the dummy for the treatment group. The coefficient of this variable is insignificant.

Conclusion: The adoption of the nationwide smoking ban did not affect the profitability of Belgian restaurants.

Keywords: Belgium; Smoking; economics; prevention; profitability; public policy; restaurants.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Humans
  • Restaurants / economics*
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoke-Free Policy / economics*
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution