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Table 2 Content of news items on restaurants/bars going voluntarily smokefree, 1995-2011 (N = 986, except as noted below)

From: “Tired of watching customers walk out the door because of the smoke”: a content analysis of media coverage of voluntarily smokefree restaurants and bars

Measure All venuesa Restaurants Bars Example
  Total % Total % Total %  
Overall impression of smokefree policy conveyed by all non-opinion items (n = 777 all venues; n=530 restaurants; n=131 bars)        
 Positive 606 78.0 419 79.1 99 75.6 “Restaurants are finding it profitable and popular to ban smoking entirely.” [53]
 Negative 12 1.5 9 1.7 2 1.5 “The owner had been enthusiastic about his smoke-free environment for the night club crowd, but the crowd never came.” [54]
 Neutral 159 20.5 102 19.2 30 22.9 “Only a few Ft. Wayne restaurants have voluntarily gone smokefree, and they’ve had differing results.” [55]
Overall impression of smokefree policy in editorials, letters, & columns (n = 209 all venues; n = 117 restaurants; n = 70 bars)        
 Positive 203 97.1 113 96.6 70 100.0 “Owners…deserve credit for being the latest Fairbanks restaurants to toss their ashtrays.” [56]
 Negative 1 .5 0 0.0 0 0.0 “Most people don’t care about smoke-free establishments.” [57]
 Neutral 5 2.4 4 3.4 0 0.0 “…holding his breath to see if his café can survive the no-smoking rule which he initiated.” [58]
Opposition        
 Item mentions any opposition to voluntary smokefree policy 307 31.1 193 29.8 55 27.4 “We can’t afford to have it [be smokefree] because we’d lose a lot of business.” [59]
Overall customer reaction reported (n = 444 all venues; n = 297 restaurants; n = 72 bars)        
 Positive customer reaction to voluntary smokefree policy 241 54.3 162 54.5 42 58.3 “We just enjoyed the atmosphere. I could breathe…We didn’t smell of smoke.” [60]
 Mixed or neutral customer reaction 168 37.8 110 37.0 25 34.7 “A lot of them have boycotted me…But…I have those who are not afraid to come in now.” [61]
 Negative customer reaction 35 7.9 25 8.4 5 6.9 “We have had customers refuse to do any more business with us.” [62]
Health-related motivations and outcomes (n = 647 restaurants; n = 201 bars)        
 Health cited as reason for implementing voluntary policy 361 36.6 247 38.2 46 22.9 “When secondhand smoke isn’t causing cancer, it is busy irritating the eyes, nose, throat and lungs of nonsmokers.” [56]
 Public health advocacy cited as reason for implementing policy 174 17.6 134 20.7 15 7.5 “Smoke Free Mohawk Valley has encouraged numerous restaurants to voluntarily ban smoking.” [63]
 Policy considered likely to benefit healthb 266 27.0 182 28.1 33 16.4 “These businesses have chosen to promote a healthier environment for their patrons and workers.” [64]
Business-related motivations and outcomes (n = 647 restaurants; n = 201 bars)        
 Business considerations cited as reason for implementing policyc 560 56.8 380 58.7 86 42.8 “It’s not worth it to spend $100,000 to build a smoking section.” [65]
 Policy considered likely to benefit businessd 554 56.2 329 50.9 154 76.6 “The result has been steady sales and more positive feedback.” [66]
Evidence and authorities cited (n = 647 restaurants; n = 201 bars)        
 Mention of scientific evidence about tobacco (including health effects) 372 37.7 260 40.2 41 20.4 “[There is] ‘overwhelming scientific evidence’ that secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and a list of other illnesses". (Surgeon General Richard Carmona) [67]
 Direct quotes from government officials 350 35.5 223 34.5 59 29.4 “This is a public health issue.” (Tucson Councilwoman) [68]
 Direct quotes from tobacco control advocacy group representatives 268 27.2 182 28.1 51 25.4 “Smokers don’t quit eating in their favorite restaurant because it is smoke-free. They just quit smoking in it.” (Wisconsin Initiative on Smoking and Health) [69]
 Direct quote from restaurant/bar assoc. representative 133 13.5 75 11.6 29 14.4 “We believe it should be a business decision and left to the business owner.” (Wisconsin Restaurant Association) [69]
 Direct quote from tobacco industry representative 34 3.4 30 4.6 0 0.0 “We believe adults should be able to patronize establishments that permit smoking if they choose to do so.” (RJR spokesperson) [70]
Mandatory policies mentioned (n = 695 all venues; n = 404 restaurants; n = 168 bars)        
 Positive portrayal 230 33.1 126 31.2 74 44.0 “It’ll probably help people quit smoking.” [71]
 Negative portrayal 79 11.4 55 13.6 11 6.5 “Legislation to force business owners to convert to nonsmoking is neither appropriate nor required.” [72]
 Neutral or mixed portrayal 386 55.5 223 55.2 83 49.4 “A bill to enact a statewide smoking ban failed in the Alabama Legislature…Do than and…other cities in the state, however, have enacted local ordinances severely limiting smoking.” [73]
  1. aAll venues include 112 items focused on both restaurants and bars, and 26 items whose focus was unclear
  2. bHealth benefits included less smoking in general, encouraging kids not to smoke, improving health, and “benefiting people”
  3. cBusiness considerations included financial motivations, a desire to improve the business’s image, accommodating nonsmoking customers, protecting property, anticipating a mandatory law, following industry trends, and limited space to accommodate smokers
  4. dBusiness benefits included a better image, a gain or no change in income/patronage, a cleaner, fresher smell, and a “general benefit”