Recently a study was commissioned by the State of Michigan stating after the smoking ban in Michigan sales had not decreased. Helen Levy analyzed data given to her by the state.
“The data was provided by the state Department of the Treasury,” said Levy. “The state commissioned me to do a report.”
According to the information given to her, there is “no change in the trend in aggregate sales tax receipts from bars and restaurants at the time that the ban went into effect.” Meaning that there has been no change overall since the ban took effect in 2010. The data looked at the trends starting in January of 2006.
“There wasn’t a statistically dramatic drop after May 2010,” Levy said. Levy adds people might be doing a little bit more drinking at home.
Scot Ellis from the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association paints a slightly different picture.
Ellis says the study doesn’t distinguish between on-premise and off-premise sells.
On-premise sells are when liquor is purchased at a bar or restaurant and consumed there. Off-premise sells are when liquor is purchased at a store and consumed at home or some other location.
He also adds the data looks at all restaurants regardless if they sell alcohol or not. Liquor sales and KENO sales are also not a part of the study according to Ellis.
Ellis does attribute some of the decrease in sells has been in part to the economic downturn. Still, Ellis says the research done by the MLBA shows that there is a 3.2 percent decrease in on-premise sells and a 3.2 increase on off-premise sells.
Ellis says the hardest hits are small bars and restaurants not the chains.
“3.2 percent for a small business is a lot of money,” said Ellis. “We’ve talked to a lot of the members and they’ve started to push food more than they have in the past. But again there are costs associated with increasing your food service.”
Ellis says as a result many businesses are closed and others have laid of staff members.
Levy cautions that the data is not on individual bars and restaurants but takes a look at the overall impact. Levy adds some bars and restaurants might have closed in one area, but others have opened in other areas because there isn’t a strong decrease in the total sales.
Thus, Levy says she anticipates doing a follow-up work that does use data on individual bars and restaurants. Levy doesn’t have a timeline for the study because of the nature of the data she has to requests but says the results of this study “made me want to follow up.”
Ellis says the MLBA anticipates working to find some alternative solution to the ban.
“We’re not debating whether smoking is healthy or not we know it’s not,” he said. “But [cigarettes] are still a legal product. We’re not going for a full repeal.”