Smoking Bans Hurt Neighborhood Restaurants and Bars

New York’s smoking ban causes the closure of a popular Buffalo bar and restaurant, leaving nearly 20 employees without work.

Small Neighborhood Restaurants and Bars Hurt Most by Smoking Bans

The Royal Pheasant, a popular bar and restaurant in Buffalo, New York since 1944, has permanently closed its doors.

Owner Jacqueline O’Brien says her establishment was forced out of business by a drastic decline in customers attributed to a statewide smoking ban. Like many other New York restaurant and bar owners, O’Brien contends that such establishments have the right to decide its own smoking policies.

The closing of the Royal Pheasant forced nearly 20 people out of work. While the smoking ban contains a provision allowing businesses to apply for a waiver, very few establishments have actually been able to acquire one.

Besides the Royal Pheasant, nine other Erie County bars and restaurants closed soon after the ban went into place. Small neighborhood restaurants have been the most adversely affected by the ban. Patrick H. Hoak of the Innkeepers Association of Western New York has reported that some of the smaller bars and restaurants that have not closed have experienced drops in sales of 50 percent.

Sources: The Buffalo News (December 9, 2003; January 25, 2004; October 2, 2004), Innkeepers Association of Western New York, New York State Department of Health

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