Washington, May 7 : A new study has suggested that smoking ban in restaurants does not affect employee turnover.
The researchers analysed the payroll records of a franchisee of a national full-service restaurant chain operating 23 restaurants in the state of Arizona, a state where several communities have adopted smoke-free laws.
"We already know from multitudes of other studies that going smoke-free doesn't hurt business," said Ellen Hahn, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.
"But this is the first one to look at how smoke-free laws may impact employee retention and training," Hahn added.
The findings showed a decline in the probability of turnover in the initial months after a smoke-free law was implemented and turnover rates lowered 16 to18 months after implementation.
However, over the long-run (a five year period) there was no consistent pattern of either a decline or an increase in employee turnover after the implementation of a smoke-free law.
"We thought we might see a short term spike in turnover but we didn't see that," said Eric Thompson, associate professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
It was previously believed that the introduction of a smoke-free law may compel some workers to leave their jobs at bar and restaurant businesses.
"The concern was that once smoking was no longer allowed, workers would no longer be interested in that particular job. Ostensibly, when the smoking law changed, the mix of characteristics in their job (such as wages, job responsibilities, the presence of second hand smoke) may have changed and caused people to choose another place of work. But the study did not bear this out," said Thompson.
Hahn hopes that the findings would give the restaurant industry the courage to stop fighting smoke-free laws.
"There's no reason the hospitality industry should resist smoke-free legislation in light of the huge body of research showing that it doesn't impact business," said Hahn.