Columbia Missouri passed a complete ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in October 2006 which started January 9th 2007. A growing number of restaurants and bars which have closed since then are blaming the smoking ban. After seven months it was reported that overall sales tax revenues in Columbia were down in 2007 including restaurant and bar sales tax revenues.
Dr. Michael Pakko, a PH.D. economist and research officer for the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve published the paper The Economic Impact of a Smoking Ban in Columbia, Missouri with preliminary results showing a 5% decline in bar and restaurant sales due to the smoking ban. This set off a firestorm of denials of any economic impact by anti-smoking activists, claiming that businesses which closed were poorly managed and even included smear tactics to try and discredit Dr. Pakko. Of course these anti-smoking activists love to quote studies released by government agencies or those funded by anti-tobacco groups.
This raises the question -- who do you trust?
I defended Dr. Pakko in an op-ed in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Smoking ban study critic ill-informed and then raised questions about the veracity of an economic study published by our own Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services.
Here are links to background information supporting Dr. Pakko and which help document the questions I raise about the DHSS study in my op-ed:
- DHSS Maryville Smoking Ban Press Release
- DHSS Maryville Smoking Ban Economic Study
- Dr. Pakko's review of the DHSS Maryville Study
- Dr. Pakko's Columbia Smoking Ban Economic Study
- Study: Smoking ban hurts sales -- Federal Reserve report cites 5 percent decline
- Op-ed by a Mr. Cowger trying to discredit Dr. Pakko
- Smoking ban study critic ill-informed