Regarding smoke-free bars, William Fisher, president of the American Hotel and Motel Association, was right to say the smoking ban is bad for business [letters, July 2], not Stanton Glantz of the University of California, who holds that the ban has no effect or a positive effect on tourism [letters, July 13].

Although I cannot speak for restaurant-only sales under California's smoke-free program, I can assure The Post's readers that "stand-alone" bar sales throughout California have been decimated. On average, sales at the local bars, taverns and pubs have dropped nearly 30 percent since the enactment of the ban. I have talked to literally thousands of owners and employees who have sales and income losses as high as 95 percent. Thousands of employees have had their hours cut, and hundreds have lost their jobs because of the loss of the smoking customers who form a majority of their customer base. (Last year, my establishment suffered its worse performance in 15 years).

As for the "huge influx of non-smoking customers" who were supposed to flock to our establishments after the ban -- well, it never happened. We are attempting to regain our smoking clientele by introducing a bill that would allow bars and taverns, not restaurants, to permit smoking in designated areas wherein the latest air filtration systems are in use.

Contrary to the blatherings of anti-smoking zealots such as Stanton Glantz, banning smoking in adult bars is not popular -- not with the employees, not with the customers (especially the tourists from other states) and most certainly not with the bar owners.


San Diego