The ban on smoking in public place will change your dining out experience - pexels

South Africa’s anti-smoking measures are about to get tougher and it has a direct impact on the restaurant business.

The results of a University of Cape Town (UCT) study shows that the #smokingban has the support of local restaurant owners and managers

The study, which canvassed views in South Africa’s restaurant industry, was published by the South African Medical Journal. 

Megan Little, a researcher in the Economics of Tobacco Control Project (ETCP) and Professor Corné van Walbeek, director of the ETCP, embarked the study

The aim was to analyse the smoking policies of restaurants, whether and how these policies have changed over the past decade, and restaurateurs’ attitudes to the proposed legislative changes. 

More than 750 restaurant owners and managers across the country were interviewed. 

Smoking could soon be banned in public spaces - pexels

A summary of the findings are:

  • 20 years ago there was little support from the restaurant industry for a smoking ban, now the majority support it.
  • A noticeable number of restaurants are already voluntarily instituting a complete ban on smoking regardless of the current regulation’s more lenient stance on smoking.
  • Already 45% of restaurants have no smoking areas at all. The practise is more prevalent in franchise establishments where 57% of franchisers do not allow their restaurants to have smoking areas at all.
  • 44% of restaurants have smoking areas outside. Just 11% of restaurants have smoking areas inside.
  • Restaurants with inside smoking areas tend to be in small towns and rural provinces. Non-smoking restaurants, or restaurants with outside smoking areas, are prevalent in provinces with large urban populations.
  • 23% of restaurants have changed their smoking policies in the last 10 years, with the majority relocating their smoking sections outside or banning smoking completely. There was little evidence of customer disapproval to these changes.
Prof Van Walbeek says: “There’s been a shift for the better in restaurants’ smoking policies in the past decade. Businesses all over the world respond to consumer preferences and the hospitality industry is no different.” 

For the full study on smoking in South African restaurants, click here.