How restaurant and bar owners view clean indoor air legislation five years after implementation in North Carolina, 2015
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Division of Public Health, Tobacco Prevention & Control Branch
Walden University
East Carolina University
Tara Lee Gallien   

Walden University, 101 Hearthstone Lane, 27516 Chapel Hill, United States
Publication date: 2017-08-01
Submission date: 2017-02-22
Final revision date: 2017-07-12
Acceptance date: 2017-07-14
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2017;3(August):122
Smoke-free policies are effective in eliminating health hazards that can lead to chronic diseases and premature death. How hospitality businesses experience clean indoor air policies may provide leverage in states that have not adopted such policies. This study assessed whether North Carolina restaurants and bars receive complaints and/or experience benefits five years after implementation of the state’s smoke-free law.

A 2015 mail survey was used to assess problems, benefits, and voluntary policies (i.e., polices related to the use of electronic cigarettes indoors and outside smoke-free seating areas) among restaurant and bar owners/managers. The survey yielded 135 responses for a response rate of 20.3%.

The two most frequently selected benefits among respondents were customers breathing less tobacco smoke (65.2%) and fewer complaints about secondhand smoke (58.5%). The majority of restaurants (79.7%) and bars (71.4%) reported experiencing at least one benefit from the law. Restaurants were significantly more likely than bars to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes inside. No significant difference was found between restaurants and bars in smoke-free outdoor customer areas. Bars were more likely to report problems with the smoke-free law (e.g., lack of outdoor space for smoking, compliance issues).

This study reveals successes of North Carolina’s smoke-free law. The majority of respondents reported experiencing at least one benefit of the law and some reported that they had implemented additional voluntary policies. Learning more about how hospitality businesses experience smoke-free laws can help other states and communities deal with similar policy changes in the future.

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