Eye On Olympia

MONDAY, AUG. 21, 2006, 12:58 P.M.

Smoking ban: drinking down, eating up…

Although cautioning that "three months of data (is) insufficient to draw conclusions," the state Department of Revenue says that sales by bars and taverns dipped during the first three months after the new state smoking ban took effect.

Gross business income reported by taverns and bars fell 3.4 percent during the first quarter of 2006. That's a reversal of the same period in 2005, when profits rose 4.3 percent.

Sales at sit-down restaurants -- many of them already non-smoking -- rose 8.1 percent during the same time this year.

The department said that businesses affected by smoking bans in other states tended to adapt and recover. From the agency's press release:

"The volatility of the bar and tavern industry, which saw significant ups and downs prior to the ban, is a complicating factor in assessing what impact, if any, the smoking ban has had."




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