Objectives: The effect on restaurant revenues of local ordinances requiring smoke-free restaurants is an important consideration for restauranteurs themselves and the cities that depend on sales tax revenues to provide services.
Methods: Data were obtained from the California State Board of Equalization and Colorado State Department of Revenue on taxable restaurant sales from 1986 (1982 for Aspen) through 1993 for all 15 cities where ordinances were in force, as well as for 15 similar control communities without smoke-free ordinances during this period. These data were analyzed using multiple regression, including time and a dummy variable for whether an ordinance was in force. Total restaurant sales were analyzed as a fraction of total retail sales and restaurant sales in smoke-free cities vs the comparison cities similar in population, median income, and other factors.
Results: Ordinances had no significant effect on the fraction of total retail sales that went to restaurants or on the ratio of restaurant sales in communities with ordinances compared with those in the matched control communities.
Conclusions: Smoke-free restaurant ordinances do not adversely affect restaurant sales.