Smokefree hospitality venues in Victoria: public approval, predicted patronage and quitting behaviour, 2004–2006

Brennan E, Durkin S, Liu C, Germain D 

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 28

The data presented in this report are from telephone surveys of randomly sampled Victorian adults conducted in November and December of 2004 (N=2998), 2005 (N=2999) and 2006 (N=2996). In 2006, the majority of Victorian adults and large proportions of Victorian smokers expressed approval for smokefree hospitality venues in Victoria. Eighty-six per cent of Victorian adults approved of smokefree hotel bars and licensed bars (including 61% of smokers), 84% approved of smokefree nightclubs (including 64% of smokers), and 91% approved of smokefree gambling venues (including 76% of smokers).

These current levels of approval are a significant increase on the approval levels observed in both 2004 and 2005. In 2006, the majority of Victorian adults indicated that the introduction of smokefree hospitality venues would either make no difference to how often they visit hospitality venues, or that they would visit these venues more frequently.

Twenty-six per cent of respondents who currently visit bars at least once a month reported that they would attend bars more frequently when they became smokefree, while only 4% of these respondents believed that they would visit bars less frequently. Therefore, it appears that the patronage of regular visitors to bars could be expected to increase by around 22% (i.e. 26% reporting ‘more often' minus 4% reporting ‘less often') when these venues become smokefree.

Similarly, an 18% overall patronage increase to nightclubs can be expected, and a 5% overall patronage increase to gambling venues could be expected when these venues become smokefree. In addition, 40% of Victorian smokers believed that they may quit smoking altogether in response to the bans, and an additional 11% of smokers believed that they might reduce their cigarette consumption.

Overall, these results indicate that public approval for smokefree hospitality venues in Victoria is high, and continues to increase as the implementation date draws nearer. The positive consequences of this change to smokefree venues can be expected to range from reduced health risks for hospitality employees; a reduction in prevalence and consumption among current smokers; and patronage increases for the hospitality industry.