Smoking has been part of the world’s history since the beginning. However, because of its negative impact on health, governments have decided to banish smoking from public areas. Japan and North America were the pioneers to banish smoking in the late part of the 20th century. Nevertheless, this banishment had consequences for the industry especially on the hospitality; restaurants and bars are considered as public places and where tobacco is the most consumed. The effects on this branch of the industry will be discussed in these following paragraphs.
The rationale for smoking bans posits that smoking is optional, whereas breathing is not. Therefore, smoking bans exist to protect breathing people from the effect of the second hand smoke, which includes an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. The smoking bans movement started centuries ago, in 1575 by Spanish and Mexicans colonies in Caribbean (Richards, 2008). It was the first regulation to forbid the consumption of tobacco in churches. In the late part of the 20th century, research showed side effect risk on second hand tobacco smoke became public (American lung association, n.d.). The industry, fearing a decrease on sales, campaigned for tolerance and courtesy by the smokers and the non-smokers to avoid the smoke bans. Therefore, in the food and beverage industry, restaurants started to create smoking and non-smoking areas. In the early years of the 21st century, a more aggressive movement, started in the USA embodied by the “freedom to breathe” militants to restrict smoking in restaurants. As of 2006 the European countries started to write laws banishing the consumption of tobacco in public areas. The smoking bans created an environment where smoking became more and more difficult and provoked a shift in social life norms that pushed away the consumption in everyday life. On consequence of this was that it created a more healthy life behavior.
The food and beverage industry was highly impacted by these smoke free laws. As smoking is strongly connected to those types of services, the industry feared a decrease of guests. Laws have to be applied immediately, whereas consumers behaviors take time to adapt, thus the food and beverage industry was the first to perceive the effects of the smoking bans. The concern of a negative impact on the attendance in bars and restaurants pushed the industry to hijack the law. Violations were common to keep heavy smokers who were big alcohol consumers (Smoking ban violations rise in 2012, n.d.). Thus the industry faced three main effect which are economic, social and healthier life effects.
In the food and beverage industry, the bans harmed bar differently from restaurants. Some research showed that the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes are very connected, thus suggesting that bars attract mainly smokers (Marlow, 2010, p. 17). On the contrary, the research indicated that smokers tend to smoke following meals, therefore suggesting smokers frequenting restaurants are less apt to want to smoke while in restaurants than when in bars. As a matter of fact, in the early years after the application of the law, a lot of bars violated the laws, fearing the decrease of the frequentation (Marlow, 2010, p. 17). While in restaurants, the non-smokers outnumber the smokers, and thus bans cause more nonsmokers to frequent businesses and outspend smokers who may lower their frequency and spending. Those who applied the law straight away did see a short term decrease of profit. But with time smokers changed their smoking behavior, so despite the period of adaptation, businesses recovered and even register growth of profit (Economic losses due to smoking bans in California and other states, 2005).
On top of this economic situation, bars and restaurant benefit from the positive aspect of the ban, which is a healthier environment. Medical research has proven that smokers are not only poisoning their lungs, but also by smoking, contaminating the air and harming the people next to them. Nowadays, people are conscious and concerned about the damages caused by tobacco, therefore the ban responds to this healthier lifestyle trend. So bars and restaurants, now, offer a place where smokers and nonsmokers cohabit in harmony respecting one another. Above all, those businesses are healthier places to work for employees. In offering healthier restaurants and bars, the nonsmokers that lost the habit to go out because of the smokers, are more inclined to frequent those businesses now. As it is not anymore allowed to smoke indoors, smoke free laws are a violation to the individual freedom right.
The government through the law forbids smoking in all public areas which avoids the right to choose smoking or nonsmoking places. An individual should have the liberty to do what he likes to do. For instance a pub is a place where people go for relaxing and having fun and also drink and smoke what they like. And the nonsmokers should also have the right to access smoke free places. This is called a freedom of choice either way. The smoking ban is preserving the freedom of the nonsmokers to go in every public places without being intoxicated by tobacco. It is the liberty to enjoy a meal or a drink and have a nice time without having the tobacco smell and the tobacco smoke. It is also the liberty to breathe clean air and avoid harming him/her health. On the contrary, the smokers have no more the liberty to smoke where ever they want and the liberty to intoxicate them. As bars and restaurant have a mixed customer base, smokers and nonsmokers, they had to invest their time to find to solution to combine both customer types. In order to satisfy smokers, businesses started to propose solutions. For example some places offer guests smoking lounges (with a specific air ventilation system) which are separated from the actual restaurant or bar. Furthermore, some bars, pubs organize outdoor happenings and also invested in outdoor heaters. In the end, no one is left behind.
In conclusion, the consumption of tobacco is pleasure for some people and a nightmare for others. Smoking in bar and restaurants was part of this pleasure for smokers. In the meantime nonsmokers were not satisfied and prevented them to highly enjoy their time. Those laws created a difficult situation for the businesses; they were to banish smoking customers. But fearing the decrease of revenue, they invested in keeping smokers by providing them appropriate facilities. Nevertheless, the fundamental purpose of the smoke free laws is to protect the population from tobacco addiction and negative side’s effects. The government feels responsible for the public health while individuals seem to have a lake of self-responsibility. Bars and restaurants are one of the links that are part of the government’s public health goal. Hence the smoke free law is the beginning of a big campaign against tobacco consumption and to what extent are the governments capable of going when Japan is already banishing smoking in the streets?