|The Truth-O-Meter Says:|
Jump to full article: PolitiFact (St. Petersburg (FL) Times, 2011-09-19
Author: Written by: Chris Joyner Researched by: Chris Joyner Edited by: Jim Tharpe
So it got our attention when the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, based in Coumbus, Ga., released a statement last month by its legislative director, Chris McCalla, in opposition to an expansion of the DeKalb County smoking ban. McCalla claimed a similar ban in Ohio cost 5,400 jobs in one year to that state's hospitality industry.
It turns out the claim of Ohio job losses is popular among opponents of smoking bans. We found the claim repeated in letters to the editor in Alabama, on numerous pro-smoking blogs and in news aggregators like Yahoo! News that picked up the association's news release.
But where did that number come from? Naturally, the first place we looked was Ohio. . . .
The employment sector he claims coughed up so many jobs because of the smoking ban represents a wide-ranging group of industries that includes bars and restaurants but also takes in sports stadiums, hotels, museums and golf courses to name a few.
Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, said the sector lost 2,200 jobs during the first year of the state's smoking ban, less than half the claimed amount and a pretty small 0.4 percent decrease in overall employment.
By way of comparison, all nonfarm employment in the state declined by 39,400 during the same period, a decrease of about 0.7 percent, so it makes it tough to see the ban's direct impact on employment.
Ohio State University public health professor Elizabeth Klein said the research on the economic impact of smoking bans is not even something researchers argue about because of the "high degree of consistency" in numerous academic studies. The bans just do not do measurable economic harm. The only downside is that it is hard to get new research published, she said.
"From the academic perspective, most of us are over this. It's been well established," she said. . . .
In fact, the hospitality industry has fared better than the overall economy in Ohio. Total nonfarm employment has dropped 6.3. percent since 2007, according to federal data. . . .
When the smoke cleared, we rated this lost-jobs claim as False.
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