smoking ban = more deaths?
by azizhp, Sat Apr 26, 2008 at 07:43:04 AM EDT
Milwaukee Talkie blog links to a new study by Wisconsin economists at UW Oshkosh and UWM, that suggests that county-level smoking bans actually increase deaths due to drunk drivers going to and from smoking-enabled bars in adjacent counties. Implementing statewide bans is not a panacea either, for the same reason scaled up: adjacent states without smoking bans then become the destination. The specific applicability to Wisconsin is hard to predict:
it's unclear which way this finding cuts for Wisconsin, as our neighbors Minnesota and Illinois both have new smoking bans in effect this year, while Iowa's goes into effect soon. Would a statewide smoking ban endanger our citizens on the road, forcing them to drive to Michigan's Upper Peninsula? Or, without a statewide ban are we (at least in our southern and western border counties) about to see an influx of intoxicated drivers from the Twin Cities and Chicagoland?
It should be noted though that the upper peninsula is a lot less accessible, and far less proximate to major population centers. My feeling is that there's a stronger case to be made in favor of a Wisconsin statewide ban, given the crossover barseekers from Illinois and Minnesota.
The correlation between smoking and drunk driving is the hidden driver here, but that's probably a topic for another day.