The July 2 letter of William P. Fisher, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Motel Association, challenged the results of our research demonstrating that -- contrary to the claims made by the tobacco industry and its allies -- smoke-free restaurant ordinances have no effect or a positive effect on tourism. To support his assertions, Mr. Fisher cited a study prepared for the National Restaurant Association (a close ally of the tobacco industry) that predicted that smoke-free rules would reduce tourism.

In contrast, our conclusion was based on the actual tourist revenues in nine states and cities that implemented smoke-free restaurants. (Our study is available to the public in the May 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.) The tobacco industry claim that smoke-free restaurant ordinances will hurt tourism is just as wrong as its earlier claims that such laws are bad for restaurants or bars.

Legislators can enact smoke-free restaurant ordinances secure in the knowledge that they can provide a safe and healthy workplace for their constituents. These laws do not hurt -- and may help -- those businesses. The only business that would suffer is the tobacco business, because these laws create environments that help smokers quit.



San Francisco

Dr. Glantz is a professor and Ms. Charlesworth is a research associate at the University of California, San Francisco's, Department of Medicine and Institute for Health Policy Studies.