Restaurants, Bars, and the Bottom Line

What is the New Hampshire Indoor Smoking Act?

New Hampshire lawmakers passed an amendment to the NH Indoor Smoking Act in June 2007. The amended statute protects the workforce and the public by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. Effectively, on September 17, 2007, restaurants and bars in New Hampshire became smoke-free. New Hampshire joined the rest of New England by implementing such a law.

What is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of tobacco products and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of disease and death. In 2005, over 49,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to secondhand smoke exposure.

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, as evidenced in the U.S. Surgeon General’s report of June 2006. Simply separating smokers from nonsmokers, filtering the air, or ventilating buildings will not eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

Has that hurt the bottom line for restaurants and bars in New Hampshire?

Peer-reviewed studies examining objective indicators such as taxable sales revenue and employment levels have consistently found that smoking restrictions do not have a negative economic impact on restaurants and bars.

Restaurant and bar revenues in New York City increased by 8.7% from April 2003 through January 2004 following implementation of the city’s smoke-free law.

How will the law affect the workforce?

A study found that Florida’s 2003 smoke-free law did not have significant negative effects on sales and employment in the state’s leisure and hospitality industry.

Employment increased in New York City’s restaurants and bars by approximately 2,800.

In 2003, California’s bars and restaurants had about 200,500 more employees than they did in 1995, before the smoke-free policy took effect.

Over time, financial returns are generated for employers in four ways:

  • Reduced health care costs
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased on-the-job productivity
  • Reduced life insurance costs

Benefits realized more immediately include:

  • Increases in employee productivity
  • Reductions in smoking-attributed neonatal health care costs
  • Employers who provide a smoke-free workplace may also realize savings on fire insurance and costs related to items such as ventilation services and property repair and upkeep

What Resources Can You Post To Help Your Employees Quit Using Tobacco?

A non-smoking spouse and smoke-free workplace play key roles in long-term success for young adults who quit smoking. New research from Indiana University shows that environmental factors are more influential than individual behaviors and beliefs when it comes to quitting and staying quit.

Ready to Learn More?

The New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is ready to help you understand the new law and how the rules will apply to your business. Contact the NH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program for materials and resources that can help your business take advantage of the amended Indoor Air Act. Call 1-800-852-3345 ext 6891, 603-271-6891, or visit online at:

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