NYC restaurants not hurt by smoking ban

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — Tax receipts from bars and restaurants jumped almost 9 percent in the 10 months since the city’s public smoking ban went into effect, proof the city says that businesses haven’t been harmed by the rules.

“The city’s bar and restaurant industry is thriving and its workers are breathing cleaner, safer air,” said a report issued Monday by the Economic Development Corp. and the Departments of Finance, Health & Mental Hygiene and Small Business Services.

From April 2003 through January 2004, the city collected about $17.4 million in tax receipts from bars and restaurants, compared with $16 million in the same period the year before – a 8.7 percent jump.

Some opponents of the ban say their establishments are suffering as a result of the no-smoking law, but the city said indications for the industry were generally strong.

The report found that the number of workers employed in bars and restaurants were the highest number in at least a decade, that active liquor licenses were up and that the number of bars and restaurants remained unchanged.

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