Would smokefree pubs and bars influence attendance by the Victorian public, 2000-2003?

Letcher T, Black C, Lipscomb J, Durkin S.

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 13

The current report presents the most recent data on Victorian adults’ self-reported frequency of patronage of hospitality venues, and community support for the introduction of smoking bans in such venues, by smoking status.

Data were collected from telephone interviews with a representative random sample of Victorians conducted in November 2000–2003. Unlike claims by hospitality industry representatives, the data suggest that, for the vast majority of Victorians, their likelihood of attending hospitality venues such as hotels, bars, nightclubs and gambling venues would be little affected by the introduction of total smoking bans, while a likely outcome would be greater attendance.

This was reported by the non-smoking majority of patrons as well as smokers. No difference was observed in approval for smoking bans in bars between the population as a whole and bar patrons.

The majority of regular drinkers at hotels and bars are non-smokers; in 2003, 81% of hotel customers did not smoke. Community support for the introduction of a total smoking ban in bars and licensed venues has increased over time and is now at a level of 72%. The majority of Victorians approve of such bans, regardless of how often they attend these venues or where in the venue they usually drink.

While current Victorian legislation imposes smoking restrictions in hospitality venues, only total smoking bans will fully protect patrons and staff from the hazards of exposure to tobacco smoke.