Smoke-free laws have no significant economic impact on restaurants and bars, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In West Virginia, smoke-free laws were associated with a significant increase of approximately 1 percent  in restaurant employment, the study reported. In the remaining eight states, there was no change in employment or sales in restaurants and bars.

“This new study proves what we have known for years — strong smoke-free laws have no negative impact on restaurant and bar revenue. While many studies have had similar results, this study is the most comprehensive ever done,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “Given this compelling evidence, there is simply no excuse for elected officials not to act. It is time for all states to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke.”

Opponents of smoke-free laws argue that smoke-free policies decrease the number of customers that go to restaurants and bars and the frequency they visit.

A total of 29 states and Washington D.C., have laws that prohibit smoking in restaurants and bars.

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