The city of Savannah's smoking ban does not negatively affect businesses, according to a report released Friday.
The report released by the Coastal Health District was conducted by the Chronic Disease, Healthy Behavior and Injury Epidemiology Section and the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program of the Georgia Dept. of Public Health. It uses sales tax revenue figures from the Georgia Dept. of Revenue.
The Savannah City Council passed a ban on smoking in public and work places, which includes restaurants, bars and outdoor eating areas. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. A Smoke-Free Air Ordinance was later passed by Chatham County and went into effect in early 2012.
Findings in the report called "Economic Impact Evaluation of the 2010 Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance" determined that there was no impact on "taxable sales revenue for bars and full-service restaurants in Chatham County after adjusting for time, seasonality, unemployment rate, and overall sales in all other sectors," according to a news release from the Coastal Health District.
"There was some skepticism that keeping tobacco out of bars and restaurants would hurt those businesses financially but this shows that has not happened," said Dr. Diane Weems, health director of the Coastal Health District, in a statement. "Secondhand smoke is dangerous and by keeping it out of public places we are taking an important step toward keeping our community healthy. Now we know our businesses are staying healthy, too."