The Missing Non-smokers

Back when the UK smoking ban was being discussed, antismoking zealots assured worried pub landlords that when the vile smokers had at last been kicked out of the pubs, there would be a rush of grateful non-smokers to take their place. It didn’t actually happen, and UK pubs have been closing in droves ever since.

I’d like to consider the mathematics of this a bit. In the UK, about 20% – 25% of adults are smokers (nobody has any idea what the exact number is, but nevermind). Let’s call it 20% or 0.20. And that means that the percentage of non-smokers is 80% or 0.80. And if Fs = 0.20 is the fraction of smokers and they spend Cs on drinks, and Fns = 0.80 is the fraction of non-smokers and they spend Cns, and they both spent the same on drinks in pubs, so Cns = Cs , then prior to the smoking ban, assuming net pub spending = 1:

Fs .Cs+ Fns.Cns = 1                                                                                    —( 1 )

And so Cs = Cns = 1.

And then let’s suppose that, after the ban comes into force, smoker spending falls to 0.7 of its previous value of 1, as they shiver outside. Then if Cns remains equal to 1.0, and Cs falls to 0.7, equation (1) becomes

0.2 . 0.7 + 0.8 . 1.0 = 0.94 , or 94% of its former value, and spending has fallen by 6%. [correction by BrianB]

But let’s suppose that grateful non-smokers respond to the smoking ban by boosting their spending from 1.0 to 1.25. Then equation (1) becomes

0.2 . 0.7 + 0.8 . 1.25 = 1.14, or 114% of its former value, and pub spending has risen by 14%.

So if UK non-smokers raised their pub spending enough, they could have more than compensated for the loss of the smokers from the pubs. Pub businesses could have boomed. But, in the event, pubs started closing in droves. 10% or more of UK pubs have closed since 2007. So clearly non-smokers didn’t spend 25% more in pubs. They maybe only increased their pub spending by 5% (or less). So equation (1) probably looks like

0.2 . 0.7 + 0.8 . 1.05 = 0.98, or a 2% fall in spending in pubs.

Assuming that, after a smoking ban comes into force, smoker spending drops to 0.7 of its former level, and non-smoker spending rises to 1.05 of its former level, then in the UK with 20% smoking prevalence, this results in a 2% fall in pub trade, and the closure of numerous pubs.

So what happens in San Francisco, California, using the same figures, when smoking bans are brought in? In SF, to the best of my knowledge, smoking prevalence is about 10% or 0.1. Using equation (1) we get

0.1 . 0.7 + 0.9 . 1.05 = 1.015, or a 1.5% increase in pub spending.

No wonder they keep banning smokers from everywhere in SF: it boosts pub trade!

In the UK, we’ve just found out that the same changes in spending result in a 2% fall in pub spending. So what happens in Bulgaria, with 40% smoking prevalence? Using  equation (1) we get

0.4 . 0.7 + 0.6 . 1.05 = 0.91, or a 9% fall in trade.

So while pub smoking bans in San Francisco, with a 10% smoking prevalence, actually boost pub trade, in the UK with a 20% smoking prevalence, the same bans depress pub trade by 2%, and in Bulgaria they depress pub trade by nearly 10%. No wonder there’s been near-anarchy in Bulgaria since their smoking ban last year.

It also explains why in San Francisco, smoking bans are getting more and more draconian, with smokers being fined $200 (or so I’ve heard) for smoking outside on the street. It’s because it’s good for business in near-smoker-free SF to clear out all the smokers.

But while these one-size-fits-all policies suit some people, they don’t suit everybody. And they don’t suit Bulgaria at all. And most probably Turkey and Syria and Lebanon even less, with 50%+ male smoking prevalence.

Another way to look at these figures is to ask, assuming that non-smokers post-ban spending levels are 1.05 of their pre-ban levels, and smokers post-ban spending levels are 0.7 of their pre-ban levels: what percentage of pre-ban smoking customers in your pub would have helped you ride out the smoking ban?

Using equation (1) yet again, with Cs = 0.7, and Cns = 1.05

Fs . 0.7 + Fns . 1.05 = 1

We know that Fs + Fns = 1, so Fns = 1 – Fs, and so

Fs . 0.7 + (1-Fs) . 1.05 = 1, and so

Fs = 0.05 /0.35 = 0.14 or 14%.

So if only 14% of your pub customers were smokers prior to 2007, you’d experience no loss of trade. But in many cases UK pubs said that 50% or even 90% of their customers were smokers. Such pubs were doomed to close their doors.

Not that antismokers gave a damn. The antismokers were probably anti-alcohol as well, and were glad to see lots of pubs close.


About Frank Davis

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43 Responses to The Missing Non-smokers

  1. waltc says:

    Completely OT but the Usual Suspects in the US Senate haven’t finished their Final Solution to the Smoker Problem yet and are proposing another 100 lashes; this time they also catch ecigs in their web and sacrifice pipe smokers and snus …sniffers? chewers? (dunno what you do with the stuff) which is kind of like one of those Saracen invasions where it’s not quite enough to murder the infidels but the cattle have to be slaughtered and the silos, sacked.

  2. lordsid says:

    Frank,as the title says,the non-smokers disappear too.Before there were any smoking bans here,one business here went no smoking.He thought there would be a market for this as he was told the non-smokers would flock in.Instead they “flocked off”.Even letters to the editor from the ratz couldn’t entice people to go.(I doubt if the letter writers did either.) He had to allow smoking again so he wouldn’t go bankrupt.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Ditto where I live, Sid. Pre-ban, one of the pubs in our locality had an upstairs and a downstairs bar and they made the downstairs bar very clearly non-smoking, and the upstairs bar still smoking-permitted. A double whammy, so he thought – he’d corner the market for all those antis whom he had been endlessly informed, even before the ban, would just love to come to his pub, were it not for all that nasty smoke, but he wouldn’t lose his smoking customers, because he could cater for them in the upstairs bar. I guess he thought he was on to a winner because when the upstairs bar got too busy for people to find a seat (as he knew it would), he thought that overspill customers would simply “nip downstairs” and spend their evening there instead. I guess you’ve got to give him full marks for trying, even if he had swallowed all the bullsh*t! The result, inevitably, was that the upstairs bar remained very busy (it was a well-established and successful pub). But guess what happened when the upstairs bar was too full for anyone to find a seat? Yep. Instead of “nipping downstairs,” people simply “nipped” to another pub where smoking was allowed throughout and the downstairs bar remained resolutely near-empty at all times. I guess what this landlord had overlooked was the fact that most non-smokers were less concerned about the presence of a bit of smoke in the room than they were about finding somewhere where everyone in their group could have a good time – not just themselves. And, like the pub you mention, Sid, this policy was swiftly reversed and smoking was re-permitted in the downstairs bar once he realised that running two bars, but only making any money on one, was the road to financial ruin.

      The bottom line, and the one which the antis simply will not admit to – because they can’t admit that they were wrong (or lying) – is that in truth there just isn’t sufficient market demand for non-smoking pubs to keep the industry alive. It’s as simple as that. Which is why, in addition to so many pubs closing altogether, I wonder how many of those still remaining open are now, to all intents and purposes nothing more than restaurants with a separate bar area. No different, in effect, from the likes of Pizza Express or the local Indian restaurant, who also hold licences and have bars but which are definitely not pubs.

      Ultimately, no matter how much a landlord/landlady may sentimentally keep such names as The Red Lion or The Running Horse, and no matter how much they might like to pretend that they are still “running a pub,” if the majority of their trade now comes via the food route, if there is a greater amount of space given to eating than drinking and if it isn’t a place where local people would feel genuinely comfortable just dropping into on a regular basis for a pint or two straight after work then it’s no longer a pub, but has become a Pub in Name Only. And that’s not the same thing at all, no matter what the antis (and anti-smoking “pub” landlords) might like you to think.

      And what’s happened to the aforementioned pub near me? Well, it hasn’t closed, at least, but it has changed hands and the new landlord closed the upstairs bar altogether in the wake of the ban because “there just isn’t sufficient demand to run two bars these days.”

      • lordsid says:

        It became much worse jaxthefirst.The ratz,in all their (lack of) wisdom,tried to turn this loss into what they considered an advantage.They then claimed that their claim didn’t work because all the other businesses allowed smoking.If all businesses were non-smoking then their predictions would come to pass,omitting that they had stated that smoking was so unpopular & was driving people away.(notice that when they are obviously wrong it is always because of other causes-yet they won’t allow anyone else to use them.High tobacco taxes are another example.They get some gov. to raise them &,when smuggling rises or smoking rates stagnate or increase,they blame the lack of high taxes elsewhere.) At any rate,they persuaded our waffling mayor to get a city ban passed.When this came about the problem experienced by the first business spread to many others.It was hard to find a customer in many bars/restaurants,especially nearer the outside city limits.Everyone that could,both smokers & non-smokers,were piling into rural bars/restaurants.There wasn’t room in the parking lot in some of these.The ratz were furious. Much foot stamping ensued.The nerve of all these people-doing the “unpopular” & fleeing to “danger”.

  3. Tom says:

    “It also explains why in San Francisco, smoking bans are getting more and more draconian, with smokers being fined $200 (or so I’ve heard) for smoking outside on the street. It’s because it’s good for business in near-smoker-free SF to clear out all the smokers.”

    $500 fines for outdoor smoking ban violations in SF – it’s $500. I can send you the photo of the signs if you give me an email address to send it to.

    Pub and restaurant trade in SF still hurts from the smoking bans too I personally believe. Because what happens is that yes, everyone must not-smoke, even the smokers, so that cuts them down from going as often or lingering and spending as much. Then the non and anti-smokers come in clumps. The places sit empty in large parts of the day when they’d have otherwise been full of people coming and going – and then all at once, for the evening dinner rush maybe, the non and anti-smokers show up, buy and eat quickly, then leave, not linger around doing late night drinks en-masse as they used to either.

    That’s just personal observation and opinion about the bans in SF and CA, that they still have hurt businesses, but after enough time of it, a decade and a half now, business owners accept it as “normal” and in a way, it is the new “normal” – which also includes bars and restaurants going out of business unexpectedly and unannounced or changing hands a lot with new owners giving it a new name and trying a new gimmick, with the only untried gimmick, that would otherwise be extremely successful perhaps, being that of going smoking permitted.

    For outdoor smoking in city parks, squares and plazas – such as Portsmouth Square, Golden Gate Park, UN Plaza, etc. – the signs clearly say the penalty for the crime of outdoor smoking is $500 though, not $200.

    • Tom says:

      I just now emailed you photos showing one of the outdoor smoking ban signs and showing it saying $500 punishment for the “crime”. It may go to your spam box, but I sent it to that google mail address you have under your info, so you may need to look for it and dig it out of spam, if you want the photo for your archives.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Got them.

      My $200 figure was just my recollection of something I’d read. I don’t have a perfect memory. And your $500 figure is clearly the right number.

      As for SF pub and restaurant trade, my bit of mathematics really only applies when a smoking ban is first introduced, as in the UK in 2007. After the smokers have been kicked out, I have no idea what happens, but I can well imagine pubs changing hands in the way you describe in attempts to boost trade some other way.

      I guess what puzzles me about SF is: where did all the smokers go? US smoking prevalence is somewhere around 20%, so how did SF get to 10%? Did the smokers quit smoking? Or did they pack up and leave and drive south? It must be sheer hell still being a smoker in SF..

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        I read a story 2 days ago where the Lung Association of Norhtern California adnitted the smoking rates in that part of the state were increasing and stagnant in quit rates altogether and how more money needed to be put into the quit campaigns.

      • Tom says:

        I would guess, am guessing only, but a lot of the “smoking prevalence” numbers may be coming from the CA State Board of Equalization, which is the central accounting agency for all sales and tobacco taxes collected statewide, broken down by county and by city, as the reporting of these figures by business owners is done in detail, down to the city level. So if that is from where they are getting their “smoking prevalence” numbers, from official sales and tobacco tax reports – then in the case of SF, which has made tobacco retailing illegal in pharmacies, grocery stores or any store really, which handles prescription drug sales – and on top of that have made grandfathering of tobacco retail licenses illegal, such that when a tobacco shop or store that sales tobacco sells to a new owner, the tobacco retailing license becomes void forever – along with the city/county of SF unconstitutionally charging a per-pack tobacco tax/”fee” for “garbage pick-up”, raising the price higher in SF than outside of SF – then a lot of tobacco sales, legal, may be happening just outside of SF, in adjacent counties – and so the numbers in SF are made to look like a “great success” – and people like Glantz and the entire fake-charity, fake-health, Big Pharma, NWO Agenda type organizations, 800+ progressive organizations, etc. who are the backbone of the SF economy at this point are all seen as part of the “great success” SF has become – and thus the charade and false-front SF actually is, for the benefactors hiding behind it and who have financed this ploy, can remain “virtuous” in the minds of many – thus the “need” for “smoker prevalence” is to be low, before any actual numbers are taken into account. And if tobacco retailing is being made illegal, expensive and difficult to find – and is driving some people out of county – then that may be exactly what the anti-smoking industry wants – so then they can proclaim SF a “big success” – but it ignores, possibly, the truth of the underground circuit through which smoking is still taking place. And they wouldn’t care either – as Glantz, etal., are nothing to do with “health” – they’re to do with keeping their jobs well funded and going indefinitely, if they can get away with it that long. That is just opinion though, as to a possibility, why they are saying prevalence is what it is. There really is not many places indoors or out though any longer where one can legally smoke in SF – even all the outdoor venues have been made illegal at this time except for a tiny strip of curb adjacent to on-coming rushing traffic.

        • jredheadgirl says:

          ” raising the price higher in SF than outside of SF – then a lot of tobacco sales, legal, may be happening just outside of SF, in adjacent counties – and so the numbers in SF are made to look like a “great success” ”

          That’s more likely to be a bit closer to the truth.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        I remember reading a long time ago that one of the problems to emerge in the wake of anti-smokism in the US, and California in particular, was the number of people who smoked, but wouldn’t admit it when asked. And I have to admit that if I lived there, I’d be very, very wary of admitting to any clipboard-carrying official that I ever indulged in any form of tobacco consumption. That might account for the “missing” 10-15%. My understanding was that more realistic figures are that smoking rates throughout the US are about equivalent to ours, i.e. around 20-25%.

        • jredheadgirl says:

          “And I have to admit that if I lived there, I’d be very, very wary of admitting to any clipboard-carrying official that I ever indulged in any form of tobacco consumption.”

          LOL!! Many people lie about their smoking status. That’s a fact..ESPECIALLY (like you have pointed out) in places like California.

    • Rose says:

      bars and restaurants going out of business unexpectedly and unannounced or changing hands a lot with new owners giving it a new name and trying a new gimmick

      I believe that is called Churn over here, Tom.

      Pub Churn 1998-1999
      Sold as pub
      Name change
      Change of landlord

      Of course that was before the ban, though there is much complaint about rents and the cost of beer in tied pubs, from the previous rate of closures, most of them seemed to have been able to afford them before they upset a great percentage of their customers.

      Naturally, if the pubco’s can’t get the cash out of the remaining customers, they will try take it from the publicans.

      The silent crisis engulfing our pubs – 2012

      “Pub workers are battling against a corrupt set of markets rigged against them”.

      Of course they are only reminded of the reason for the sudden collapse in profitability in the comments.

  4. Dave says:

    Well is that how it goes that we need at least 30% or more of the public pissed off before most are ready to do anything about it. Of course much respect to some of the brave towns and smaller cities that have fought and won here in America who did it with far less numbers.I keep trying to figure if it is the numbers or the heart and soul that gets an uprising going. Maybe it is both but either way it can be done. As an American and exempting those that have fought and won I am ashamed the culture in my country thus far has been un willing to fight anything. I can only speak for what I know and yes we gain more support every day as more groups are attacked but what will it take. Every revolution had a single incident that finally set a wave off of anger/revolt that had been burning deep inside people for a very long time. I do not want to see that happen but fear the antis will force it to come to that. I here alot of talk and it has changed just in the past couple years. When I hear people say stuff like what more do they have to lose you know it is only a matter of time. While I may be disappointed the sheep have taken it this long I have a feeling I may be surprised when some incident finally sets it all off. I can tell you from lack of jobs to more raises on taxes to the ban and numerous other issues that people can only take so much. You just can not keep beating people down over and over and think they will keep putting up with it.

  5. Mr A says:

    Of course, the other thing is that, unlike antis, smokers are social beasts – they hand around with all sorts. I’m the only smoker in my group of a dozen or so (with maybe a couple of “social smokers” who only smoke when I’m around). Yet since the ban we have ALL gone out less – going out has become a bi-monthly or even quarterly thing for them, whereas it used to be once or twice a week. (And I was out 4 or 5 times a week – now down to probably once every quarter). That is a helluva lot of lost revenue from 13 people, only one of whom actually smokes.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    This last week:

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day!

    The question remains,how long can the madness continue?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      That bit ASH uses to define a smoker as anyone who ever smoked 100 cigs in their lifetime well as we can see its B.S. as usual.

    • lordsid says:

      The 16 cities study also showed that ETS levels are safe-even by WHO standards.(levels were found to be 1/3 to 1/2 of the WHO safe level) Another study ((Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California-March 2006) found “Furthermore, there is no dose-response relationship and no elevated risk associated with the highest level of ETS exposure in males or females. An objective assessment of the available epidemiologic evidence indicates that the association of ETS with CHD death in U.S. never smokers is very weak. Previous assessments appear to have overestimated the strength of the association.” Also said that exposure to the heaviest amounts of ETS resulted to 1/10th of a cigarette. (study has been removed)

      The crux of the matter is the “unexplained extra” deaths in bar workers.The fact that non-smokers develop lung cancer/CHD etc. is no great revelation.However these “unexplained extra” deaths are easily explainable-they had twice the smoking rate.(They don’t have an effect for ETS to be the cause of.)

      • beobrigitte says:

        The crux of the matter is the “unexplained extra” deaths in bar workers.
        Whatever caused these “unexplained extra deaths” in bar workers, it wasn’t smoking.

        Prof. Grieshaber addresses this in his book “Goetterdaemmerung der Wissenschaft”.
        He was quite surprised to find that the rate of lung cancer amongst bar staff was very low.
        Needless to say, his study was ignored.

  7. Rose says:

    Look, they had to say something, no matter how implausible, just to lessen resistance.
    The deal had already been done in 2004 it was merely a matter of how and when to implement it.

    Threaten the pubcos and independent publicans with threatens of litigation if they resisted and promise mountains of gold if they complied.

    Fairytales of course, but you must admit that they worked.

    I strongly suspect though that it never occurred to them that people would really give up visiting pubs and simply walk away.
    After all the public are supposed to be mindless sheep rather than individuals with minds of their own.


    “A new analysis of 97 studies in eight countries on the impact of smoking bans on the hospitality industry showed that the most rigorous and independent studies found no negative impact on business.

    The 2003 study in the journal Tobacco Control confirmed the positive impact of smoking bans on hospitality venues.

    The researchers found that those studies that concluded smoking bans were bad for business were poor quality. They were four times as likely to use subjective rather than objective measures to estimate the impact and 20 times less likely to be peer reviewed.

    Less ash, more cash

    Anita Lal, one of the authors of the study, provided Hazards with its analysis of the five UK studies included in the research [see: The smoking gun, below].

    The three independent studies, with declared funding sources and no links to the tobacco industry, found no negative impact of existing UK smoking bans in pubs and restaurants. Pub owners reported that business had either increased or remained the same.

    Two of the three UK studies found the majority of pubs reported an increase in trade after bans were introduced.

    The two studies with unknown funding sources found the opposite, one predicting a devastating 41 per cent drop in pub trade.

    Unlike the studies that found real, operational smoking bans had a positive impact, the negative studies were based on the industry’s concerns about the introduction of bans, and not on real-life experiences.”

    Now let’s just look at those supposed “independant” studies on these alleged”smoking bans”

    Study 40
    Author and year published: Edwards, 2000 Reference: Edwards R. New Study: 76 per cent of the North East hospitality trade back smoke free areas & over 90 per cent of publicans recommend other pubs try one. 2000. Access date: 8 August 2001.
    Location: North East England, UK
    Type of policy examined: Smoke-free areas in pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas and theatres

    Publisher: Report by the Newcastle University Department of Epidemiology and Public Health for North East Against Tobacco (NEAT)
    Funding source indicated: NEAT
    Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry Description: Proprietors opinions of impact on business
    Findings: 25 per cent of businesses reported a boost in trade, majority a neutral effect. In pubs 58 per cent reported an increase in trade.

    Study 49
    Author and year published: Parry et al, 2001 Reference: Parry J, Temperton H, Flanagan T, Gerhardt L. An evaluation of the introduction of “non-smoking” areas on trade and customer satisfaction in 11 public houses in Staffordshire. Tobacco Control 2001;10; June 2001:199-200. Date policy implemented: 1999
    Location: Staffordshire, UK
    Type of policy examined: Smoke-free areas in pubs

    Publisher: Tobacco Control
    Funding source indicated: Staffordshire Smoke-free Alliance
    Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry
    Description: Sales at each pub and income before the intervention from landlords
    Findings: Monthly sales for six pubs do not indicate adverse effects. One pub showed a 10 per cent increase on a similar period to last year.

    Study 55
    Author and year published: Yorkshire ASH, 2001
    Reference: Yorkshire Ash. Popularity and impact on trade of smoke-free accommodation in the hospitality trade in Yorkshire; 2001.
    Type of policy examined: Smoke-free restaurants and bars
    Location: Yorkshire, UK
    Publisher: Report by Yorkshire Ash Funding source indicated: Yorkshire Ash
    Nature of relationship with tobacco industry: Funding source other than tobacco industry
    Description: Proprietor estimates of effect on sales
    Findings: Almost 2/3 (65 per cent) of respondents thought trade had increased as a result of the no-smoking policy, 29 per cent thought trade had increased ‘a lot’. Only 5 per cent thought trade had decreased “a little”, none thought it had decreased by ‘a lot’. Eighteen out of 28 pubs (64 per cent) thought trade had increased as a result of providing smoke-free areas. None thought it had decreased.”

    They must have been dazzled by Anti-tobacco’s promise of huge profits, because It’s really not hard to see the trick.

    • Klaus K. says:

      It is rather strange that noboby ever answered: But hospitality venues do have the possibility to ban smoke in their premises if they want to.

      Many people are so naive …

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Right Klaus but as we know the nazis started working over corporations decades ago to control them and one vile move was to force the anti-smoking doctrine on them and their eateries. They absorbed the loss thru the years from having anti-smoking rules in their businesses. Its the lil guy who got destroyed where the smokers turned to as they were pushed out of the corporate chain restaraunts.

        Smoking bans by impact;

        1. Where smokers were your main customer base/bankrupted
        2. Where once imposed take out orders went up/food industry
        3. If all bans were repealed and choise reestablished in corporate food businesses the upsurge would be unreal in business. Those non-smokers really dont care if its smoking or not.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Rose I dont see where they worked. What we have is a government that blindly followed whatever they were told to eat and do. It was irrelevant what junk propaganda said, the studies were simply the lie to fall back on as usual.In fact the whole scam has been an orchestrated lie from the very begining as we all know.

      Smokefree in Bowling Green got a local eatery to go smokefree and they had a big media blitz for it and I waited a couple of weeks before I called and asked how did that no smoking work out for you. The lady said 40% loss in customer base and an increase in takeout orders. Within a month they went back to smoking. Then a few months later the Mayor resigns on the day she signs the smokefree edict for Bowling Green and takes her cherished payoff as secretary of state for Kentucky. She was soundly defeated in the next primary. That Mayor was given that post by the Gov. Beshear as her payoff for surrendering the biggest city in south central KY to the nazis.

      Depending on what happens between now and march will determine if a few of us down here move to engage the Mayor and council in Bowling Green to repeal the smoking ban now in effect. It has very little support in city government now that the nazis were defeated in the last elelction here.

  8. BrianB says:

    Frank – I hate to be a wet blanket, but you have an arithmetic error in your first calculation.
    The expression: 0.2 x 0.7 + 0.8 x 1.0 = 0.94, not 0.814. I think you have slipped a decimal place in your first multiplication.

    I didn’t read on past this, so I don’t know if other, similar errors have occurred.

    Sorry to be the numeric equivalent of a grammar nazi!

    • Klaus K. says:

      Maybe something else is wrong too. If [1] is the total pub-going polulation, then smokers share of turnover must have been appr. 0,4 – and not 0,2 as in Franks example, which is the share of smokers in the total population. After all it is well known that relatively more smokers are pubgoers than nonsmokers. Half of the total nonsmoker population probably never visited a pub in their life.

    • Frank Davis says:


      You’re quite right! And I’m not surprised. I had a few Taliskers. So I woudn’t be surprised if it’s littered with mistakes.

      And I don’t think you’re the “numeric equivalent of a grammar nazi”. Getting maths wrong is twice is bad as that. Maybe 3 times.


      I was using the percentages of smokers in the whole UK population. I’ve never seen any figures for the percentages of smokers in pubs prior to the ban. Although I’ve seen numbers like 50% and 90% thrown around.

      P.S. I’ve checked all the calculations again, and they all seem to be OK apart from the first two, where I seem to have decided that 0.2 x 0.7 = 0.014 rather than 0.14. That’s a bit of mental arithmetic that’s slipped a decimal point.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        I gave up the bar scene some years ago,but do go on occassion. My hang is the coffee shops and restaraunts. That demographic of smokers is also a rather large number too.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Frank that 50-90% number would fall right in line with the regulars in say a mom and pop operation and that’d be just about anywhere. We have to remember the smokers were basically herded thru the years into the last vestige for smokers Pubs/bars and mom and pop eateries/coffee houses or the local truck stop restaraunt. Its here we find the greatest financial harm done by smoking bans. Then add in the butter fly effects of people not going out and well lost wages,lowered sales output to other businesses within close proximity to the smoker hangout of the day. We could sit and think of hundreds of effects to the bans but the foremost effect is the political dysfunction it has caused and the other causes the same folks behind the bans push. Its here that the damage is really felt and is the damage that so harms the world and its nations as a whole. Its a political agenda that will destroy itself because it is so far reaching that nobody is left unscathed. This is the secret army of not just smokers but also everyone else non-smoker alike!

      • Klaus K. says:

        Frank, my point is you can’t just use the percentage from the total population. There are many reasons for this, and your figures will be misleading. I read in a study somewhere that smokers on average are two times more likely to visit pubs & restaurants than nonsmokers.
        What you could do is factor in *time* in your calculation, like Adda & Cornaglia did, and use time as a proxy for turnover. They found that smokers used average 40,5 minutes per day in restaurant and bars without bans while nonsmokers used 24,8 minutes per day:

        Minutes used in different places before ban:

        Minutes used in different places after ban:

        Please note that nonsmokers also used less time in hospitality venues after a ban in the study (calculate figures in table 3), although not as less as smokers.

  9. Steve Kelly says:

    Just based on basic observation I think bans hurt individual bars according to the bars’ individuality. In general, smokers are folks who indulge pleasure, so even if they’re 20% or so of the population, they might well generate 40% of bar revenues generally, easily. Smoking & drinking go together. Depending on an individual bar’s appeal & clientele a ban might hurt anywhere from minimally to catastrophically. Before the bans there were virtually no “smoke-free” bars even despite decades of crazy ETS propaganda. There just wasn’t enough demand to justify any smoke-free bars. Now that 0% demand is being met with a 100% supply. I don’t see how the universal bans can be helping any bar. Bans hurt all bars collectively and individually. A return to freedom would correct this, but the fashion is for bans on everything, and the abolition of every freedom. The government hates the people. So the people have to return that sentiment. I know I do. When enough people wake up to the situation we’ll get change.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Steve theres a simple anaology here. If your anti-smoking your also anti-alcohol.
      A smoking ban in bars gets a 2 for one punch……………Thats the secret behind it.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Now that 0% demand is being met with a 100% supply.

      I don’t actually think it is 0%. I think some people genuinely do want ‘smoke-free’ bars. But it’s a small demand. So maybe it’s more like a 1% demand is being met with a 100% supply.

      The problem is that this small minority of antismokers like to pretend that they represent the non-smoking majority. Like that Austin guy yesterday.

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    But we have to stop and look at ourselves,why would we fight back! What is in us that we would spend years fighting a movement so fiercely and with so much vigor for so long. Its our spirit of liberty and freedom at the core of our own fight. Its an injustice not only against ourselves and our friendships but against mankind. Our history has always been to fight against injustices and find that balance of liberty and freedom without restriction. We dont get paid yet we fight!

    • Margo says:

      I know a fair sprinkling of anti-smoking but pro-alcohol people. They used to hassle me about smoking – they’ve gone very quiet now!

      • Rose says:

        Ammo, Margo?

        Graphic cigarette-style labels proposed for Aussie wine

        An array of health lobbying groups, including the National Alliance for Action Against Alcohol, the Alcohol Policy Coalition, Vic Health and the Cancer Council of Victoria have launched an appeal to apply the labels to wine, beer and spirits in a bid to combat diseases stemming from alcohol abuse.

        There is already a voluntary system in place in Australia where wineries bear messages on the back label warning against drinking while pregnant and the dangers of underage drinking.

        The labels also provide a link to DrinkWise’s “get the facts” online information service.”

        image- Proposed warnings for labels in the UK

  11. garyk30 says:

    A couple of thoughts.

    1) Many people go to pubs as a pair or more, rather than as a single.
    If 50% of smokers went as a pair;, then,a 50% smoker customer rate means that 75% of the customers are smoker pairs.

    My wife and I used to go to taverns to play arcade games and get away from the house.

    Since I won’t go, my wife now doesn’t go either. That is a loss of two customers.

    2)The fixed costs of keeping a pub open(rent,insurance, loan payment, stock,electricity, and etc) must be met,regardless of the amount of the take.

    Let’s say that for a small pub the fixed costs are $90 per day.
    A take of $100 per day gives the owner a $10 per day profit/salary.
    A 2% drop in take to $98 per day means the owner has a 20% drop in their profit/salary.

    3) An increase in take-out business will help keep the profit up for a place; but, the loss of dine-in tips is a vicious blow to the servers that depend on tips for most of their salary.

  12. beobrigitte says:

    Back when the UK smoking ban was being discussed, antismoking zealots assured worried pub landlords that when the vile smokers had at last been kicked out of the pubs, there would be a rush of grateful non-smokers to take their place.

    This rush of “grateful” non-smokers into pubs has never materialised. There were some grateful non-smokers initially but within weeks their gratitude turned into despair. When they phoned up their smoking friends to meet them at the pub, the answer was: ‘sorry, not in the mood’.

    I also have met one of the smokers stating: ‘I like the ban, it helps me to smoke less’. He did not have an answer to: “well, if I want to smoke less, I just don’t light up”.

    People have been brainwashed to believe they are unable to make simple decisions.

    It is almost 6 years after the smoking ban was dictated and the pub trade is on it’s knees. In order to reduce complaints about the noise of groups of smokers outside a pub the anti-smoking zealots insisted that the drinks have to stay INSIDE the pub. They thought smokers would not bother going for a smoke and ‘get used’ to the smoking ban.
    Well, the smokers didn’t “get used” to the smoking ban. They stay at home. Staying at home is the almost 6 year old new going out.

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