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Nicotine Nannies claim smoking bans are good for business. But if that were the case, could this list exist, and could it be so huge? (Please note, this is only a small sample of articles available on the subject.)

This page uses blogging software to make it easier to search. Each post contains excerpts from the original article. Our comments are in italics. More detailed information is available here.

Minnesota Diary Of A Disaster

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

(Sue Jeffers kept a diary of the devastating effect a smoking ban had on her business, Stub and Herbs. These are just a few excerpts. We recommend reading the entire articleto get a feel for just how badly smoking bans hurt hard working small business people.

She also documents how nearby towns, who didn’t have a ban, were seeing their business flourish as smokers and their friends flocked to smoke friendly venues. This always happens when bans are enacted, expose the nannies “good for business” bleat as an intentional lie.)

Half of our regular Thursday lunch customers didn’t come in for lunch.

We have made it through the first weekend of the smoking ban. Sales at my bar were down each day by about 25% from the week before. Our Sunday food and liquor sales were reduced by 50%. One VFW was down 65%.

Customer reactions have been consistent. Most customers, smokers or not, are angry. Some stayed for shorter periods of time, some refused to patronize Minneapolis, some stayed home. My smoking customers are not buying a beer when they are outside having a smoke.

Being so close to the University my bar has customers visiting from out of state. These customers visiting this weekend stayed for one beer and left, they did not order food or another round of drinks. They informed us they will not be back, ever. Even some of my “regulars” are now informing me they will be going to a nearby county to drink as they become someone else’s “regular” customer.

I spent some time in the small bars in NE Minneapolis this weekend, two bars had zero customers. One of the larger NE bars had many people outside smoking, angry customers who said they will not be back and would not stay as long as usual, keep in mind the weather was nice as they stood outside and smoked.

Bar owners around town compared notes…one bar in St. Paul was empty on Thursday night but after receiving a waiver on Friday noticed customer counts were well above average when smoking was allowed again. A bar in Anoka County (a county that just voted no ban) was crowed with transplants (customers and staff) from Ramsey County businesses who could no longer allow smoking. Versions of this were heard over and over again.

A small group of the smoke haters feel they need to visit my bar or send me an anonymous letters, telling me how stupid I am. One drove all the way from Burnsville to gloat and antagonize my customers. These gullible and uninformed people usually list inaccurate facts and are terrified SHS will kill them if they are exposed to a whiff of smoke. They do not realize SHS levels in bars with ventilation test at 150 times BELOW the OSHA safety limits. They do not understand the concept of private property rights and personal freedoms but they do exercise their freedom of speech rights. They are lucky some of my customers did not beat them up, my staff is well trained.

Bars in St. Paul with waivers recorded record sales this past weekend. One particular bar owner who did not receive a waiver in time for the first day of the ban reported sales “$ucked” on Thursday. However, Friday, with his waiver, he had record high sales.

Comments from bar owners over the weekend across the city and county reported sales down up to 65%. On Saturday evening, two NE bars had zero customers. Another NE landmark reported sales down 40%. One VFW reported sales down 65%. A pull tab organization reported sales down 33%. A St. Louis Park bartender made $50 instead of the usual $200 she makes. The Anoka County bar I stopped into was full of Ramsey County residents who decided it was worth the mile drive to be able to smoke.
Enforcement to keep drinks inside and cigarettes outside has caused problems with noise, litter, vandalism, fights and drugs.

Bar sales are still the number one concern. A NE landmark lost a banquet of 125 because the party could not smoke.

Several violent incidents have occurred.
A bar owner in St. Paul spoke out publicly today warning women not to leave drinks unattended while they go outside to have a cigarette. The drinks have been drugged. Another bar owner on West Bank reported an altercation with the smokers and local gang members that got out of hand. A downtown club had a patron violently assaulted after going outside for a smoke. Several bars reported drug and alcohol use while customers are outside.

Every day I hear from more and more business owners telling me the problems they are experiencing thanks to the smoking ban. I have heard staff is quitting because of reduced hours and lost tips, assaults and drug and alcohol use while customers are out smoking have increased, and city streets are a mess. I have heard revenue losses in Bloomington, Minneapolis, and Hennepin County down anywhere from 13% to 65%. One VFW has already informed their city they will no longer be donating charitable gambling revenues to the city coffers.

All the while, surrounding cities and counties report record sales.

We are entering the third week of the ban. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories. Today I heard about 2 well established businesses who decided to stop serving lunches, more lost revenues and lost jobs. I heard about a NE Minneapolis nightclub who lost $20,000 in sales last weekend and tomorrow will lay off 20 employees.

After just one month of a smoking ban the bars and restaurants in Minneapolis have proved the bar owners right and the smoke haters lie. Business has not increased, our staff and customers are not healthier and some businesses will not remain in business much longer. The nonsmokers are not coming out and spending more money, in fact they are leaving with their smoking friends to surrounding cities and counties with no bans.
Businesses in those cities and counties continue to thank our foolish city council.
Revenue declines range from 10-65%. Businesses have cut staff and hours, some businesses have laid off up to 25 employees. Businesses that serve the hospitality industry have lost revenues as well. This includes the beer and liquor companies, the pop companies, food distributors, vending, charitable gaming organizations, and others all report declining revenues in Minneapolis. We estimate the first month has cost our city 614 jobs and over a million dollars in lost revenues. And that estimate is low.

After 6 weeks we have had 3 bars close their doors, more are barely hanging on. Every single statement the smoke haters said has been proven a lie. Bar owners have been proven right but no one seems to care about the small business owner, lost revenues, and lost jobs.

Bar owners in surrounding counties without a ban continue to do a thriving business as do those exempted in the next county.

In Minneapolis, 29 businesses have closed, most attribute it mostly to the smoking ban. One owner has laid off his entire kitchen staff and he cooks from open to close. Another owner is bartending open to close just to keep the doors open. A night club has reduced hours to 4 nights per week and is offering free drinks, sometimes until midnight just to lure customers.

Especially powerful was a list the VFW read of all the organizations they donate their charitable gambling revenues to. These organizations have now received letters explaining that the ban has cost significant revenue losses and they will not be receiving contributions similar to last year, if at all. All thanks to the smoking ban.

Again, the list of heartbreaking stories were told by some of the biggest bars in the county. Some own bars in both Hennepin and Ramsey County (St. Paul and surrounding cities with a partial ban). Also included were damages to Kuether Distributing, our Budweiser distributor with accounts mostly in Hennepin County. They have eliminated one entire route and are down 16%. Carbonic Machines, who for 50 years has serviced our bars and restaurants, is down 27%. Vending, food and other hospitality industry related businesses reported losses from 15-50%. Bands do not want to play our venues, they can’t smoke and the customers are all gone anyway.

We also heard the stories about vandalism, noise, litter, and drug and alcohol use as smokers went outside to our sidewalks or parking lots. Bar owners are worried that it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed. One bar owner, down 65% compared to last year, had left a customer running her bar so she could come down and speak to the commissioners.

We met at a south Minneapolis bar/restaurant whose business is down over 30%. Eight years and he could not pay his property taxes in May and can not get any additional financing. He said he won’t last much longer. The three new customers he gained with the smoking ban have not begun to replace the lost ones.

Bloomington has been receptive to the concerns of the bars and private clubs. They DID notice 2 businesses closed in the Mall of America. They noticed the Minnesota Department of Economic Security reported a loss of 1400 jobs in the hospitality sector for May and another 700 in June. (Wait until the minimum wage increase hits in August.) They also noticed their private clubs were down $250,000 the first three months of the ban. Money that will not be donated to worthy causes in their community. Liquor revenues continue to plummet in all size bars as the losses now total millions of dollars.

As we enter the 4th month of the smoking ban we continue to see lost revenues, jobs and more closed businesses. Minneapolis Hospitality Association can document the city of Minneapolis is losing a million dollars a month in lost revenues compared to the year before. We can document 1200 lost jobs. Charitable gambling losses are down on average over $100,000 per month per establishment. More money that will not go back into the community.

The smoke haters in Hennepin County call this “dip” in business: temporary. A dip that Hennepin County and Minneapolis assured us would never happen, as the nonsmoking customers flocked to our businesses. If you assume this trend will continue, Hennepin County will lose an estimated $1,632,000 in annual tax revenues in just charitable gambling losses. The City of Minneapolis charitable gambling is down 24.26% totaling $1,894,585.99, in just two months.

The job losses continue to mount and the liquor revenues are devastating as well. Food sales appear to be flat. Twenty businesses have closed in Hennepin County since the beginning of the ban. In researching other communities in similar size who have chosen to trample on property and individual rights, we expect another 80 to go under if the ban continues.

Friday is another fundraiser for a bar who can no longer pay their bills. Porter’s Bar, in business for 70 years is ready to close. Kathy and John are two of the finest people I have ever met, caring, hard working, honest and they have been put out of business by yet another regulation to our industry as our elected officials try to legislate “healthy” behavior while ignoring facts, science, and negative economic impacts.

The fact remains 23 businesses have closed that I know of… there could be and are more, over a thousand jobs have been lost and millions in lost revenues have been documented.

Source: The Smokers Club. Link

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