Ellen Hahn of University of Kentucky College of Nursing and colleagues examined payroll records of a franchisee of a national full-service restaurant chain that operates 23 restaurants in Arizona, a state where several communities have adopted smoke-free laws.
The study, published in the journal of Contemporary Economic Policy, finds a decline in the probability of turnover in the initial months after a smoke-free law was implemented, as well as evidence that turnover rates were lower 16 to18 months after implementation.
However, over the long run -- a five-year period -- there was no consistent pattern of either a decline or an increase in employee turnover after the implementation of a smoke-free law.
"The reactions of the workers to the smoke-free laws showed that they weren't apt to leave their jobs after their restaurants went smoke-free," Hahn says in a statement.
Smoking ban opponents had argued that introduction of a smoke-free law might cause some bar and restaurant workers to leave their jobs.