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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.)

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How many jobs lost due to smoking ban?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

The Hennepin County Board takes up a proposal Tuesday afternoon that would weaken the county’s smoking ban ordinance. Some opponents of the county’s current total ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and private clubs say the law is responsible for lost revenues and a loss of more than 2,000 jobs. However state unemployment numbers don’t necessarily support that claim.

We have over 2,500 jobs lost already,” says Sue Jeffers. “Over a million dollars in lost revenues every month.”

Jeffers, who says she opposes any smoking ban, says the ordinance has led to the closing of at least 40 bars. And she says it’s hurting related businesses, like her beer distributor.

“They have already eliminated one entire route,” says Jeffers. “Which is a lot of jobs, because their business was down 16 percent. It all just adds up over and over and over again.”

Hine says there are several factors that make it difficult to determine what’s behind employment trends in the restaurant and bar business. The first is getting comprehensive information on workers. Not everyone who loses a job files for unemployment, and some workers aren’t eligible. In order to file for benefits, a part-time worker has to have been employed, anywhere, for at least six months and have earned at least $1,250.

Hine says more than three-quarters of the people who work in bars and restaurants are part-time employees. He says many workers change jobs frequently and work multiple jobs.

Matthew Lamphear is the former owner of Molly Quinn’s in Minneapolis. He says the smoking ban is the main reason he went out of business. Lamphear says in fact, trouble began for him the first day the law went into effect.

“I immediately had a 25 percent drop in customers,”
says Lamphear.

Lamphear says his best customers, his smoking customers, took their business elsewhere. After three months, he began laying people off and closing his doors earlier.

Lamphear says eventually he had to close for good after he couldn’t afford to pay his bills, and vendors stopped delivering food and beer. His 27 employees had to find work elsewhere. Some, Lamphear says, are having trouble finding new jobs.

As for Lamphear, he says he’s developed a heart condition and is facing a debt of about $250,000.

“I foresee myself pushing a shopping cart, collecting aluminum cans,” he says. “I’m so broke. I don’t know that I could get a job that would pay me enough that I could pay off the remaining bills.”

Source: Minnesota Public Radio. Link

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