201684 Impact of Hawaii's Smoke-free Law on Tourism

Monday, November 9, 2009

Katharine Dobson, BS , Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
Andrew Hyland, PhD , Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
Cheryl Higbee , School of Public Health- Department of Epidemiology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Objective: To determine the association between changes in indicators of tourism and the Hawaii smokefree law.

Methods: Data regarding the number of tourist arrivals, length of tourist stay, average daily spending and average monthly spending was obtained from Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism website for overall tourists, and those specifically from Japan. Descriptive statistics were reported before and after the law and linear regression was used to assess the relationship between the implementation of the law and changes in indicators of tourism while adjusting for underlying economic factors.

Results: Overall visitor arrivals and length of stay increased after the law while daily spending decreased, both overall as well as for Japanese visitors. After adjusting for inflation, overall visitor spending averaged $1.06 billion prior to the smokefree law, and $1.01 billion after the implementation of the law. Regression analyses that controlled for underlying economic trends did not reveal any statistically significant changes in tourism indicators after the law, including average overall visitor spending; however, variables measuring underlying economic activity such as the value of the Dow Jones Industrial average was significantly associated with changes in tourism outcomes.

Conclusions: There is no evidence that the smoke-free law harmed the Hawaiian tourist industry as a whole. Other economic factors may be the driving force for an observed decline in tourist arrivals and spending in Hawaii.

Learning Objectives:
Analyze trends over time in variables indicative of tourism in Hawaii and evaluate the association of the smokefree law with those trends.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a student and candidate for a Masters in Public Health at the University at Buffalo, and do research through being a pre-doctoral trainee at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.