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Has the ban on smoking in NSW restaurants worked? A comparison of restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.

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... If there was a weakness in this powerful set of interlinked frames, it was that the references and word pictures invoked in its support were decidedly backward looking and comparatively easily dismissed as being out of touch with world views held by many people in contemporary Australia. Restaurants had gone smoke free in 2000 to widespread acclaim and with few if any major problems 30 and with public opinion overwhelmingly in favour of smoke free pubs, 32 it is probable that many exposed to the AHA framing here would have found it out of date. ...
... [3] Legislation has been introduced in inverse proportion to the potential for harm: those most chronically exposed (bar workers and casino croupiers) still remain unprotected by law, while those least exposed (for example, passengers in building elevators, traveling in public transport, and restaurant patrons) were protected by legislation sometimes very early in the history of controls. Bars have been popularly described as the "last bastions" of public smoking after smoking has been banned incrementally by law in all forms of public transport, restaurants, [4,5] and in some sports stadia. This regulatory paradox --the obverse of the way a risk-based public policy should have been introduced --invites analysis as to why political regulators have now taken more than 20 years to introduce comprehensive indoor air legislation that would protect those most exposed. ...
... This study approximates a comparative observational study of Sydney and Melbourne restaurants undertaken in 2001 by the University of Sydney and the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control. 2 Previous studies 2-5 have concluded that smoke-free dining has no negative effect on restaurant patronage. Results from the first phase of data collection, conducted in February and March 2002 before the introduction of the new legislation in Queensland, appear likely to support this conclusion with 80% (n=84) of restaurant staff interviewed believing that the new laws will not affect patronage. ...
... By 2001, this had fallen to 23.1% of men and 19.3% of women (with 21.1% men and 18.0% women smoking daily) [2]. The intervening period-particularly since 1982 when the first major quit campaign commenced-saw the introduction of three generations of pack warnings (1973,1987,1995) [3], the elimination of all tobacco advertising, the introduction of smoke-free public transport and restaurants [4] and many workplaces [5], the deregulation of nicotine replacement therapy allowing direct to the public advertising about smoking cessation, and large-scale government sponsored public awareness campaigns [6]. In addition, these measures have all generated widespread community debate and news coverage that has been overwhelmingly negative to smoking [7]. ...
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To determine the prevalence, correlates, and predictive value for intention to quit of 18 commonly expressed self-exempting beliefs about smoking among smokers and recent quitters, some 20 years after intensive tobacco control commenced in Australia. National telephone survey of randomly selected 802 adults (685 smokers; 117 recent quitters). Main outcome measures. Level of agreement or disagreement with 18 self-exempting beliefs about smoking and intention to quit. Four coherent categories of self-exempting beliefs are widely held by smokers ("bulletproof", "skeptic", "jungle", and "worth it"). Smokers who hold self-exempting beliefs are more likely to be aged over 50, smoke more than 15 cigarettes per day, have less than 12 years of schooling, and be in the precontemplation stage of change. All scales had some relationship with progress towards quitting. In particular, "worth it" beliefs are powerful independent predictors of smokers not planning to quit. Some self-exempting beliefs seem to act as a shield for smokers, giving them false reassurance and allowing them to avoid thinking deeply about the importance of quitting. This is particularly true of "worth it" beliefs. The prevalence of such beliefs may suggest confusion about smoking being a risk rather than a probable cause of illness. Creative approaches to increasing the saliency of the costs of smoking may be fruitful.
... If there was a weakness in this powerful set of interlinked frames, it was that the references and word pictures invoked in its support were decidedly backward looking and comparatively easily dismissed as being out of touch with world views held by many people in contemporary Australia. Restaurants had gone smoke free in 2000 to widespread acclaim and with few if any major problems 30 and with public opinion overwhelmingly in favour of smoke free pubs, 32 it is probable that many exposed to the AHA framing here would have found it out of date. ...
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To investigate framing strategies used by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and tobacco control groups to (respectively) resist or advocate laws providing smoke free bars. Online archives of Australian print media were searched 1996 to 2003. A thematic analysis of all statements made by AHA spokespeople and tobacco control advocates was conducted. Direct quotes or journalistic summaries of statements attributed to named people were coded into four broad themes and the slant of articles coded. More than three times as many articles reported issues that were positive (n = 171) than negative (n = 48) for tobacco control objectives. The AHA emphasised negative economic issues and cultural/ideological frames about cultural identity, while tobacco control interests emphasised health concerns as well as cultural/ideological frames about threats to inequitable workplace policies. Smoke free bars have now been secured, suggesting that health advocates' position prevailed. The inability of the AHA to avoid the core health arguments, its wildly exaggerated economic predictions, and its frequent recourse to claiming smoke bans threatened nostalgic but outmoded vistas of Australian day to day life were decidedly backward looking and comparatively easily dismissed as being out of touch with views held by many in contemporary Australia. Health groups' emphasis on the unfairness in denying the most occupationally exposed group the same protection that all other workers enjoyed under law was powerfully and consistently argued. Australia's recent success in securing dates for the implementation of smoke free pubs is likely to have owed much to the enduring media advocacy by health groups.
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Despite evidence to the contrary from overseas research, the introduction of smoke-free legislation in South Australia (SA), which required all restaurants to go smoke-free in January 1999, sparked concerns among the hospitality industry about loss of restaurant business. This study aimed to determine whether the law had a detrimental impact on restaurant business in SA. Using time series analysis, we compared the ratio of monthly restaurant turnover from restaurants and cafés in SA to (a) total retail tumover in SA (minus restaurants) for the years 1991 to 2001 and (b) Australian restaurant tumover (minus SA, Westem Australia and the Australian Capital Territory) for the years 1991-2000. There was no decline in the ratio of (a) SA restaurant turnover to SA retail turnover or (b) SA restaurant tumover to Australian restaurant turnover. The introduction of a smoke-free law applying to restaurants in SA did not adversely affect restaurant business in SA.
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