smoking ban = more deaths?

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.

Tags: drunk driving, policy, smoking ban, Wisconsin (all tags)




by dystopianfuturetoday 2008-04-26 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Convoluted.

yes, public policy is hard that way sometimes. Wouldn't it be easier if we coudl just pick "sides" and root blindly in favor of policies instead of thinking them through and assessing outcomes, some of which may have been unexpected?
by azizhp 2008-04-26 07:48AM | 0 recs
Easy now.

No need to get defensive.  

by dystopianfuturetoday 2008-04-26 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Easy now.

Please accept my apology for overreacting. Your one-word comment didnt give me a lot to go on with respect to your tone etc. Leapt to a concluson you were being snarky.

by azizhp 2008-04-26 11:46AM | 0 recs
cross posted at DBMIV4HD

(that's Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Howard Dean).

That blog is on semi-hiatus, however. I realized I was just posting about national politics, which i already do at Nation-Building anyway. So I am going to restrict my posts at DBM(etc) to Wisconsin-specific stuff only henceforth.

by azizhp 2008-04-26 07:47AM | 0 recs
As much as I love Wisconsin

Idiots cause drunk driving deaths, not smoking bans.

by Dracomicron 2008-04-26 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

My county (Dunn) doesn't have a ban in bars, but the next county over (Eau Claire) does.  People from Eau Claire do not drive here so they can smoke while at the bar.  

If people aren't coming to the next county, I don't think they'll go to the next state.

And speaking as a smoker myself (who has tried to quit a million times), if I wanted to smoke that bad, I'd just step outside.

by asherrem 2008-04-26 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

Ugh, it's a bar. People should be allowed to smoke in bars. Maybe that's not a very progressive viewpoint, but I don't care. If it's a bar attached to a restaurant, it should be a no-smoking establishment because any establishment which admits people under the age of 18 should be smoke-free. But if people don't like smoke, they don't have to go to a bar. They can go to a bar inside a restaurant, and that should do them just fine.

If I go out drinking and bar-hopping, I want to be able to have a cigarette with my drinks. I'm not sure how far I'd drive to be able to do that, but I'd definitely go well out of my way. I never drive drunk, so I wouldn't cause any accidents, but it would be a real pain in the ass.

by sricki 2008-04-26 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

What about those of us who want a drink but don't want to smoke your cigarette with you?

by JDF 2008-04-26 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

But if people don't like smoke, they don't have to go to a bar. They can go to a bar inside a restaurant, and that should do them just fine.

Alternatively, you could have some bars which are smoking and others which are nonsmoking. I suppose there would be a market for the latter. I just don't approve of banning smoking in every single establishment in a state or county. But it's no different from a dry county, I guess -- similar idea. I wouldn't like that either, but then again, I wouldn't live in one.

by sricki 2008-04-26 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

I personally don't frequent establishment which allow smoking...which is why I loved California so much while I was there (one of the reasons anyway,) I currently live in PA we are having a big fight here over it (but some form of a smoking ban is passing very soon.)

Personally I think all smoking in public should be banned because of the health dangers associated with second-hand smoke. But I am a probably a bit of an extremist on this issue.

by JDF 2008-04-26 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

Understandable. It's a controversial issue. I'm a smoker, so I'm biased, but I understand the danger of second hand smoke. I always smoke outside, though, because of my cats. Cats are more likely to get mouth cancer if they live with smokers. I also recently saw a report on CNN about health problems for people who live in apartments adjacent to smokers. Smoke can get through the vents, and I don't want that to happen -- it's very harmful to children and older people, in particular. I spend a lot of time smoking in my car, and I've been known to visit bars just so I can have a warm place to smoke in the winter. It's actually pretty pathetic. I should quit, but I'm stubborn.

by sricki 2008-04-26 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

most of the bans in question apply to restaurant smoking as well - a ban of that type just passed in Marshfield, where I currently live (central Wisconsin) and the debate in Wisconsin at present is whether there should be a state law.

by azizhp 2008-04-26 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: smoking ban = more deaths?

I support a ban on smoking in restaurants, including those which have bars inside. That's what we have where I live. Any establishment which admits people under the age of 18 has to be nonsmoking, and I think that's a great policy.  I don't think children should ever be around smokers in an enclosed space. But we can still smoke in most bars. There's only one restaurant in the city where you can smoke, and it's only allowed because the smoking half of the restaurant is fully sectioned off and has a completely separate ventilation system. They went to a lot of trouble, and they do great business because of it.

by sricki 2008-04-26 12:42PM | 0 recs


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