Advice to Business Owners

Taste the Difference

Have you heard mixed messages on how going smokefree will affect your business? Are you looking for the facts on how this change will affect your bottom line?

We can provide the answers you need to make the best decision for your business. With dozens of other issues to keep track of, such as wages, health insurance, legal liability, and keeping menus new and fresh, you may have limited time to think about smokefree air.

The good news is that going smokefree is 100% cost-free and one of the simplest steps you can take to actually reduce business costs, make your customers happier and improve employee health and productivity. All you have to do is remove those ashtrays and post a sign designating your business as a smokefree establishment.

Watch Straight-Talk about Smoke-Free Laws, a 6-minute video by restaurateurs for restaurateurs on the issue of smokefree policy.


Economic Development

It is no secret that businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies and state restaurant associations across the nation are proudly taking up the mantra, "Smokefree air is good for health and good for business." Smokefree workplace laws are considered a great way to have a healthier, more competitive workforce a higher quality of life in the area.

Conventions and Tourism

Did you know that a growing number of organizations (such as the American Medical Association; and the American Heart Association, as of July 1, 2017) now have policies to only hold meetings and conventions in smokefree cities? Check out our list of organizations with such policies!

Smokefree dining out is now the national norm, with 77.5% of the U.S. population protected by a smokefree restaurants law. People from smokefree places now expect smokefree air when they travel. It is the national norm.


What business groups support smokefree air?

State Restaurant Association Support for Smokefree Air Laws:


  • Alabama Restaurant Association
  • Arizona Restaurant & Hospitality Association
  • California Restaurant Association
  • Colorado Restaurant Association
  • Connecticut Restaurant Association
  • Georgia Restaurant Association
  • Hawaii Restaurant Association
  • Maine Restaurant Association
  • Nebraska Restaurant Association
  • New York State Restaurant Association
  • Pennsylvania Restaurant Association
  • Tennessee Restaurant Association
  • Texas Restaurant Association
  • Washington State Restaurant Association
  • Wisconsin Restaurant Association


  • Delaware Restaurant Association
  • Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association
  • New Mexico Restaurant Association
  • Oregon Restaurant Association

Partial list of Chambers and Business Groups that support smokefree workplace laws, by region:


  • Greater Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, AK
  • San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, CA
  • Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, WA
  • Jackson Chamber of Commerce, WY


  • Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau, AZ
  • Boulder Chamber of Commerce, CO
  • Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, NM
  • Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, TX
  • Greater Houston Partnership, TX


  • Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, IN
  • Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association, IN
  • Indiana Economic Development Corporation, IN
  • Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, IN
  • Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association , IN
  • Meet Minneapolis (Minneapolis Visitor and Convention Bureau)
  • Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, IN
  • Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, IN
  • Genessee Regional Chamber of Commerce, MI
  • Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, MO
  • Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, WI


  • Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, MA
  • Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, NH
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PA
  • Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, PA
  • Main Line Chamber of Commerce, PA


  • Greater Louisville Inc., KY
  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, TN
  • Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, SC
  • Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, KY
  • NuernbergMesse North America, GA

Take a moment to read what chambers of commerce have had to say in support of smokefree air, and view a video of Indiana Secretary of Commerce Michael S. "Mickey" Maurer testifying in opposition to smoking rooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

So your elected representatives are considering a smokefree law or have passed a smokefree law that requires your business to go 100% smokefree. Here are some frequently asked questions ANR receives from restaurant, bar, and gaming venue owners. If you do not see your question listed below, please contact ANR.

Is secondhand smoke really dangerous to my customers and employees?
What makes secondhand smoke so dangerous?
Do businesses in other communities support smokefree laws?
How will going smokefree affect my business revenues?
Won't installing fancy (and expensive) ventilation systems reduce health risks caused from secondhand smoke exposure? What about separately ventilated and enclosed smoking rooms?
What does remaining smoke-filled cost me?
If smokefree laws are so good for my bottom line, why is there still opposition?


Is secondhand smoke really dangerous to my customers and employees?

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Period. The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of premature death in the United States. Even a little bit of exposure can cause a heart attack. And get this, hospitality workers are the most at risk for developing lung cancer and heart disease because of secondhand smoke exposure on the job. Secondhand smoke exposure also causes bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, SIDS, and many other ailments.


What makes secondhand smoke so dangerous?

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which cause cancer. Ammonia, Acetone, Arsenic, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide, Formaldehyde, Methane, Nicotine, Tar, and Toluene are all in secondhand smoke.


Do businesses in other communities support smokefree laws?

Yes! More and more local restaurant and bar owners voluntarily go smokefree every day for the health of their employees, to save on health, fire, and property insurance, as well as to save on maintenance expenses. Many restaurant owners will tell you that their food simply tastes better without the smoke-filled backdrop. Don't just take our word for it though. See what other business owners have to say.


How will going smokefree affect my business revenues?

Smokefree air is great for health and great for business. You may hear otherwise from the tobacco companies, and their front groups and allies, who love to claim that going smokefree has a negative effect on business, especially the hospitality sector. In fact, no legitimate economic impact study has shown a negative impact, and in a few cases, studies have shown a positive impact. Only studies commissioned or supported by the tobacco industry have shown a negative impact.

Again, don't take our word for it. Hear from restaurant owners from across the country.


Won't installing fancy (and expensive) ventilation systems reduce health risks caused from secondhand smoke exposure? What about separately ventilated and enclosed smoking rooms?

Don't waste your money on ventilation systems. They simply do not work. The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that no ventilation system has ever been designed that can protect the public from the death and disease caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, and that establishing smokefree environments is the only proven way to prevent exposure. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Installing a ventilation system and/or creating smoking rooms leaves workers and patrons exposed to secondhand smoke and you exposed to increased legal liability and maintenance costs.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineer (ASHRAE), the international standard setting body for ventilation and indoor air quality, and numerous air filtration companies found that HVAC systems cannot control for secondhand smoke exposure and that a business's only way to eliminate risk is to go 100% smokefree.


What does remaining smoke-filled cost me?

  1. Higher maintenance expenses (carpets, drapes, table cloths and clothes, paintwork)
  2. Higher insurance premiums (fire, medical, workers comp, liability)
  3. Higher labor costs (absenteeism, productivity)
  4. Increased legal liability
  5. Lower employee morale

Keeping your restaurant, bar, or gaming venue smoke-filled increases operating costs. This might be justified, from a business standpoint, if smoking attracted more customers and boosted revenue. But it doesn't. Please, don't short change yourself, your customers, or your employees. Patrons frequent your business for your menu and the ambience; not to smoke.

Hospitality venues don't lose business by going smokefree - and in fact, operating costs for maintenance, insurance, and labor go down in many cases. So spending tens of thousands of dollars on an ineffective ventilation system or needless remodel doesn't make much sense.

For more detailed information on the costs of smoking in the workplace, read our Business Costs in Smoke-Filled Environments fact sheet.


If smokefree laws are so good for my bottom line, why is there still opposition?

The cigarette companies have invested billions of dollars to maintain consumption of their product. Indoor smokefree laws result in three to five fewer cigarettes smoked per smoker. This equates to billions of dollars lost… for Big Tobacco, not the business owner. Read more on TobaccoScam.

If you have any questions, or would like copies of economic impact studies, please contact us directly at 510-841-3032.