The Smoke Clears in Scotland

When we last considered claims about the impact of Scotland's smoking ban, an alleged 17 percent drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks (a claim reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and widely repeated by the press) turned out to be more like 8 percent in the year after the ban took effect. A drop of this size is consistent with the pre-existing downward trend in heart attacks. Now data for the second year after the ban was imposed show an increase in heart attack admissions roughly equal to the previous year's decline. Christopher Snowden observes:

If the 2006-07 decline had really been the result of the smoke-free legislation, it would be expected for rates to remain low in subsequent years. The fact that Scottish hospitals have seen an unusually sharp rise—despite the smoking ban being rigorously enforced—suggests that whatever lay behind the 2006-07 dip, it was not the smoking ban.

Hospital data from England and Wales has failed to show a significant reduction in incidence of acute coronary syndrome since going smoke-free in 2007. This new evidence from Scotland casts serious doubts on the theory that smoking bans have a measureable impact on incidence of acute coronary syndrome.

As I noted in connection with smoking bans in Massachusetts, such laws, to the extent that they encourage smokers to quit and deter others from picking up the habit, can be expected to reduce heart disease over the long term, even if secondhand smoke has no effect on the cardiovascular health of bystanders. But the sharp, immediate reductions reported in some jurisdictions with smoking bans (beginning with Helena, Montana, in 2003) are not biologically plausible and are almost certainly due to random variation or pre-existing trends.

Michael Siegel challenges anti-smoking groups that seized on the NEJM report as evidence of the benefits from smoking bans to acknowledge the more recent data. He cites misleading statements about the Scottish ban from 19 groups and offers a $200 prize to the one that corrects the record first. "I am not going to lose sleep worrying about my $200," he says, "because I am sure that no anti-smoking groups will respond appropriately."

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  • ||

    You mean people are smoking just as much even though it's banned!?

    Who could have predicted that!?

  • ||

    I am always really torn on the smoking ban debate. On one hand, I have my principles, but on the other hand - I used to hate smelling like an ashtray after going out to a bar (I'm in NYC and NJ, who both have bans).

    The owners bitched when they proposed it, but since everyone had to comply - no one lost any business - the bars are still packed, and much nicer smelling. Before the ban - very few bars prohibited smoking, probably because the competition would undercut them by allowing it. But the whole dynamic was kind of a prisoners dilemma - and in my view a market failure (vast majority of people are better off with the ban)

  • ||

    but the public health argument that this thread is about seems weak - I like the ban better on a nuisance line of reasoning.

  • Anti-Smoking Group||

    It's a fair cop.

  • ||

    The owners bitched when they proposed it, but since everyone had to comply - no one lost any business - the bars are still packed, and much nicer smelling. Before the ban - very few bars prohibited smoking, probably because the competition would undercut them by allowing it.

    So, in essence, no non-smoking group was willing to put their money where their mouth is and open a smoke-free bar to compete with the "normal" bars. They just waited for the state to enforce their moral code upon those who didn't wish it imposed, thereby reinforcing the flawed idea that everyone has a "right" to go anywhere they damn well please and demand that everyone else submit to their personal preference (as long as you have the political muscle to back it up).

    There's your market failure.

  • ||

    I used to hate smelling like an ashtray after going out to a bar

    Wow, sucks for you. Don't go, then.

    The smoking issue is a beautiful test for whether someone truly opposes forcing other people to provide them with the environment they want. The instant your hear "I'm opposed to it but glad because I hate smelling like smoke", get ready for the excuses for why it's actually OK.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    but the public health argument that this thread is about seems weak - I like the ban better on a nuisance line of reasoning.

    Nuisance to whom? I would argue that the pervasiveness of outdoor smoking and the proliferation of cigarette butts outside of bars and restaurants is a greater nuisance than smoking in bars was.

    Proof that the smoking bans really are not rooted in public health is that even if you could have a completely sealed off room for smokers, most state bans still do not allow for that.

  • ||

    before you vote me out off the island - two points:
    1) is the failure of some bars to prohibit smoking a market failure.
    2) if so, does that justify government ban.

    For me the answer is 1) yes 2) no, but I wish it did.

    Concerning 1:
    no non-smoking group was willing to put their money where their mouth is and open a smoke-free bar to compete with the "normal" bars.

    Bars are dominated by network effect - people going there makes people want to go there.

    Consider this:

    do you think there are enough people in NYC who hate cigarette smoke to support a non-smoking bar (in the absence of a ban) - almost certainly the answer is yes, and probably enough to support many. Given that, why would the market not produce such a place? Because people go out with their friends and to meet people. even if you are a non-smoker, you are hanging out with those who do, or trying to meet people who do or are friends of them. You need the network to make it worthwhile.

  • ||

    Nuisance to whom? I would argue that the pervasiveness of outdoor smoking and the proliferation of cigarette butts outside of bars and restaurants is a greater nuisance than smoking in bars was.

    you could argue that, but I think you'd be wrong. Unless you never go into the bars...

  • ||

    Wow, sucks for you. Don't go, then.

    I didn't much. I didn't complain either - but sometimes you get dragged into these places by friends or clients. See network effects...

  • ||

    Because people go out with their friends and to meet people. even if you are a non-smoker, you are hanging out with those who do, or trying to meet people who do or are friends of them

    And before the ban, you were willing to put up with the smoke in order to do that. So you were still going and buying drinks. Therefore, the owners made the correct choice to allow smoking, as it didn't turn off as many non-smokers from going as banning it would have turned off smokers.

    How you can see this as a market failure is mystifying. It's about you only seeing and caring about your preferences, and since it wasn't the ideal situation for you, it must have been a market failure.

  • Jordan||

    do you think there are enough people in NYC who hate cigarette smoke to support a non-smoking bar (in the absence of a ban) - almost certainly the answer is yes, and probably enough to support many. Given that, why would the market not produce such a place? Because people go out with their friends and to meet people. even if you are a non-smoker, you are hanging out with those who do, or trying to meet people who do or are friends of them. You need the network to make it worthwhile.



    In other words, there is no market for non-smoking bars.

    I didn't complain either - but sometimes you get dragged into these places by friends or clients.



    As he said: don't go then. Kidnapping is a felony, by the way.

  • ||

    And before the ban, you were willing to put up with the smoke in order to do that. So you were still going and buying drinks. Therefore, the owners made the correct choice to allow smoking, as it didn't turn off as many non-smokers from going as banning it would have turned off smokers.

    yes - thats kind of the point - I suggest you research the prisoners dilemma before you critique me here. Essentially both parties (the owner and patrons) are making optimal choices given the situation, which nevertheless results in sub-optimal utility to the participants. For game thoery purposes, I am assuming that smokers utility in being able to smoke equals a non-smokers utility in not being exposed and that the smoking rate or bargoers is

  • ||

    Bars are dominated by network effect - people going there makes people want to go there.

    How, then, does any new bar stay in business longer than a month?

    Given that, why would the market not produce such a place? Because people go out with their friends and to meet people. even if you are a non-smoker, you are hanging out with those who do, or trying to meet people who do or are friends of them. You need the network to make it worthwhile.

    In order for a bar to be successful, it must contain a lot of people. In order for it to contain a lot of people, there must be social networks in place. In order for there to be social networks in place, the bar must be susccessful.

    Do you see the problem here?

    1) is the failure of some bars to prohibit smoking a market failure.

    No, it's a preference failure. The "market" was doing just fine. The problem is that you kept giving the bar owners your money, signaling that you were satisfied with their product. There was another signal that could have been sent, but you weren't interested in sending it.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    you could argue that, but I think you'd be wrong. Unless you never go into the bars...

    Not true. I am a veteran bar-goer (I count 120+ I have been to in the city I live in), and smoking outside is definitely a greater inconvenience. It requires heating elements be placed outside (in cold weather areas) and additional security monitor outdoor patios and areas immediately outside the bars (for places that do not have patios).

    Essentially both parties (the owner and patrons) are making optimal choices given the situation, which nevertheless results in sub-optimal utility to the participants

    How is it suboptimal to the participants? By definition, if you would rather be in a smoking-permitted bars because the utility of being with your friends is > the nuisance of smoke, then you must be maximizing your utility.

  • ||

    yes - thats kind of the point - I suggest you research the prisoners dilemma before you critique me here. Essentially both parties (the owner and patrons) are making optimal choices given the situation, which nevertheless results in sub-optimal utility to the participants. For game thoery purposes, I am assuming that smokers utility in being able to smoke equals a non-smokers utility in not being exposed and that the smoking rate or bargoers is

    I suggest you research how markets actually work. It doesn't mean you get whatever you want. There are always sub-optimal returns for somebody. You are demanding bars tailor their prefrences to yours. If you want a specific kind of bar environment so badly go open one yourself.

  • ||

    etc etc...Do you see the problem here?

    not really. opening a brand new bar is probably one of the business ventures most likely to fail - for this exact reason.

    The problem is that you kept giving the bar owners your money, signaling that you were satisfied with their product...

    actually I didn't. They didn't know about me or the other customers they were missing - because they, er, never came to their bars.

  • ||

    domo, you do realize that you are trying to rationalize why it's OK to have the smoking bans, right? Is that because you know it's wrong, but you are nonetheless happy with the result and wouldn't change it even if you could?

  • ||

    not really. opening a brand new bar is probably one of the business ventures most likely to fail - for this exact reason.

    I never said opening a bar was a slam dunk, but you make it seem that they are all doomed to failure before they open becasue everyone is going everywhere else already and are stuck on some mobius bar crawl.

    Established bars can (and do) fail as well.

    actually I didn't. They didn't know about me or the other customers they were missing - because they, er, never came to their bars.

    Eh? Didn't you just get through telling us how you were forced to go to smoky bars by your social network? Now you say you didn't go?

    Bar owners aren't able to notice a drop in business and be able to deduce why?

  • ||

    I suggest you research how markets actually work. It doesn't mean you get whatever you want. There are always sub-optimal returns for somebody. You are demanding bars tailor their prefrences to yours. If you want a specific kind of bar environment so badly go open one yourself.

    I am quite sure I know far more about markets than you do. Market failure is when a market arrives at an inefficient outcome for the whole - not when "I" am not pleased.

    I demand nothing - I act in my own self interest. I can, however, unlike you, examine a question objectively. Which I have. So if you want to critique the logic that I've laid out, feel free - other wise keep your poorly thought out opinions to yourself.

    And regardless I rejected the governments imposition of a solution - so take your ignorant ideological purity and shove it up your ass.

  • ||

    Eh? Didn't you just get through telling us how you were forced to go to smoky bars by your social network? Now you say you didn't go?

    This should be pretty easy to understand if you read pretty well. My preference is to not go - however sometimes network effects in my social circles drew me in. It's an example of network effects.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    But like I said, those network effects mean that you ARE maximizing your utility. You prefer to be in that network MORE than you prefer to be smoke free.

  • ||

    domo, you do realize that you are trying to rationalize why it's OK to have the smoking bans, right? Is that because you know it's wrong, but you are nonetheless happy with the result and wouldn't change it even if you could?

    No - I am trying to explain why you and everyone else who is trying to burn the witch here are wrong to look at smoking bans and say "the market doesn't want them - the market is right"

    I am trying to do so in a way that emphasizes my opposition to the ban, regardless. My personal preference is to not have smoking - and it's true that I happen to benefit from the government imposition on our liberty. But I oppose the ban. Even though I benefit personally, and I believe it's a more optimal solution than the market solution. Because it impinges on liberty.

    So you guys can keep yelling "statist" at me if you like - but I won't respond to that after this point in the thread, since I have already clarified your misperception.

    If you'd like to prove why the market solution is better - maybe by challanging my assumptions, or pointing out flaws in my logic, or showing why my model is not applicable, then fine.

  • ||

    This should be pretty easy to understand if you read pretty well.

    No, no, writing more clearly obviously isn't an option. It must be the other person's fault.

    Life's too short for assclowns. We're done here.

  • ||

    But like I said, those network effects mean that you ARE maximizing your utility. You prefer to be in that network MORE than you prefer to be smoke free.

    Please refer to my post at 4:59. I assumed a few things there that support the idea that overall utility is maximized by the ban - not just mine. (though that is as well, it's irrelevant to my argument)

  • ||

    Is that because you know it's wrong, but you are nonetheless happy with the result and wouldn't change it even if you could?

    It's possible to enjoy the results of something even while knowing that it's not the optimal situation/disagreeing with how it came to be.

    I moved to Seattle just before the smoking ban took effect, and I certainly avoided the smokier bars. Now, I go to those bars. Am I happy to have more options that I will be able to enjoy? Sure. Am I also upset that others (namely, smokers) now have vastly fewer options? Sure.

    Kinda like Married Filing Jointly. Is it sweet to get a tax advantage? Yes. Does it suck that only the lifestyle-privileged get it? Yes. But you don't see many people opting to pay at the Single rate in outraged protest.

    I think it's acceptable to oppose something, support its abolishment (smoking and lower taxes for all!) and still enjoy your unfairly procured benefits while they last.

  • ||

    I am quite sure I know far more about markets than you do. Market failure is when a market arrives at an inefficient outcome for the whole - not when "I" am not pleased.

    Clearly you don't, by the example of this very post. There is no such thing as "market failure." It is merely a price you don't agree with. The tabacco industry certainly didn't consider it market failure.

    I demand nothing - I act in my own self interest. I can, however, unlike you, examine a question objectively. Which I have. So if you want to critique the logic that I've laid out, feel free - other wise keep your poorly thought out opinions to yourself.

    domoarrigato | December 9, 2008, 4:59pm
    yes - thats kind of the point - I suggest you research the prisoners dilemma before you critique me here


    You see what I did there? I was just showing you in my previous post I can be a smug self-righteous asshat too.

  • ||

    JW - I apoligize for snark, I thought I was cutting and pasting from one of the other, more dickhead sounding posts. I have a few critics here, as you can see...

  • ||

    There is no such thing as "market failure."

    Nope. you'll have to do better than that. why do you insist this?

    You see what I did there? I was just showing you in my previous post I can be a smug self-righteous asshat too.

    Only I'm smug and self righteous because I'm confident I'm right. You're smug and self-righteous because you just an asshat.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    domo - are you claiming that the nature of the good makes it inefficient? Or something else?

    because I do not see an existent monopoly nor do I see externalities (because the results of smoking are entirely borne by the bar).

    I see more negative externalities as a result of smoking bans.

  • ||

    If you'd like to prove why the market solution is better - maybe by challanging my assumptions, or pointing out flaws in my logic, or showing why my model is not applicable, then fine.

    Because it was the solution determined by the bar owners to be in their best interests. That's all the proof I need.

    It's possible to enjoy the results of something even while knowing that it's not the optimal situation/disagreeing with how it came to be.

    Sure. But my question to domo was whether, if he had the magical power to get rid of the bans, would he? Would he do it for principle? Or would he let it stand and use his "market failure" rationalization as his reason for going against his principles?

  • ||

    JW - I apoligize for snark, I thought I was cutting and pasting from one of the other, more dickhead sounding posts. I have a few critics here, as you can see...

    OK, cool. Thanks for that.

    Dagny T. | December 9, 2008, 5:36pm | #

    I think it's acceptable to oppose something, support its abolishment (smoking and lower taxes for all!) and still enjoy your unfairly procured benefits while they last.


    Agreed.

    Disclosure and one side note...I haven't smoked cigarettes since I was 15 and I hated them, but I do enjoy the occasional good cigar...

    I went to the 40th anniversary gig that Reason threw here in DC the other night and they were passing out a few free cigars. Unfortunately, it was raining for most of the night and the smoking deck wasn't covered. Foiled again!

  • ||

    TAO,

    If more than half of the bars occupants would prefer to drink smoke free - and we assign an equal weight to everyones preference, then they suffer an externality. The non-smokers bear the results of people nearby smoking as well. Just as smokers who are banned from smoking suffer the results of a ban.

  • ||

    Or more precisely I should say, a negative extrenality exists because net utility is lower than if smoking were banned.

  • ||

    Only I'm smug and self righteous because I'm confident I'm right. You're smug and self-righteous because you just an asshat.

    Well it's clear you don't actually want a debate. You just need to pontificate.

    That's cool. We all have needs.

  • ||

    Well it's clear you don't actually want a debate.

    I'm debating - you seem to be launching ad hominem attacks and losing. I gather that's because you have no idea how to counter my points. I am also guessing the only economic ideas you are close to conversant in are Austrian, right?

  • ||

    Epi,

    Because it was the solution determined by the bar owners to be in their best interests. That's all the proof I need.

    Because you (and I) place a very high premium on the liberty of the owner - and are conflating the idea of taking that away with a huge negative externality.

    But liberty is a moral argument, not an economic one. Liberty means society permits sub optimal results because to monkey with them would be immoral. They still might be more efficient in an economic sense.

  • ||

    I'm off - have an engagement for a few hours, I'm not tucking my tail on this thread...

  • ||

    I happen to be rather an expert on Scottish health matters, and it just so happens that heart attacks went up due to the ban on swords. Without swords, Scottish men had no way to vent their anger, leading to undue stress. Consequently, more Scots had heart attacks in the months since the ban.

    Oddly enough, sword-related injuries have gone down, though I believe this is totally unrelated to the sword ban.

  • ||

    To hell with what is best for everyone else. The bar/restaurant is owned/leased by someone. They should make the call about smoking/not smoking. End of story.

  • ||

    Epi,

    But my question to domo was whether, if he had the magical power to get rid of the bans, would he? Would he do it for principle? Or would he let it stand and use his "market failure" rationalization as his reason for going against his principles?

    I'd lift the ban. I'd also predict that most bars would continue with the ban - voluntarily - for a good long while.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    If more than half of the bars occupants would prefer to drink smoke free - and we assign an equal weight to everyones preference, then they suffer an externality.

    I am not understanding in what form you are using the word "externality". Negative externalities are costs imposed on others, and I would hardly call the smoking environment "imposed".

  • ||

    domoarrigato | December 9, 2008, 4:42pm | #

    before you vote me out off the island - two points:
    1) is the failure of some bars to prohibit smoking a market failure.
    2) if so, does that justify government ban.

    For me the answer is 1) yes 2) no, but I wish it did.


    Interesting. I have almost the exact opposite take:
    1. No.
    2. I would support government interference that produced a net reduction in market failures. I don't think that would translate into a ban, but then again I don't think there is a market failure in the first place.

    domoarrigato | December 9, 2008, 4:59pm | #

    I am assuming that smokers utility in being able to smoke equals a non-smokers utility in not being exposed and that the smoking rate or bargoers is


    I'm assuming that you meant to say that the utility to smokers of smoking in bars is equal to the utility to nonsmokers of going to smoke-free bars. I disagree.
    1. Have you noticed how important having a smoke is for a smoker who has been drinking for a couple of hours?
    2. This also assumes that smokers and non-smokers drink equally. I don't know, but it's a plausible guess that smokers drink/spend more per capita at bars (sans ban).
    3. If there were equal utility, the network effects you cite would work just as well to bring smokers to smoke-free bars as they would to bring nonsmokers to smoking-allowed bars. Someone could open a smoke-free bar and make money without the ban. In fact most bars would be smoke-free, since most people don't smoke.

    So, I think network effects are unequal precisely because there is unequal utility. Your argument requires that they be unequal for some other reason that you have not provided.

  • ed||

    Property rights. Freedom of association. End of story.

  • ||

    1. Have you noticed how important having a smoke is for a smoker who has been drinking for a couple of hours?

    Spoken like a true member of the Black Lung Society.

    2. This also assumes that smokers and non-smokers drink equally. I don't know, but it's a plausible guess that smokers drink/spend more per capita at bars (sans ban).

    Good point. I think smokers probably drink more, regardless of whether they have to go outside to smoke, and in fact I assume that implicitly.

    3. If there were equal utility, the network effects you cite would work just as well to bring smokers to smoke-free bars as they would to bring nonsmokers to smoking-allowed bars. Someone could open a smoke-free bar and make money without the ban. In fact most bars would be smoke-free, since most people don't smoke.

    I think this is a fair point. I suppose there are substitutes that non-smokers opt for. the ban probably brings some of that market into the bar market.

  • ||

    TAO,

    I'm arguing that the net utility is lower without the ban. Maybe "externality" isn't applicable - but the the outcome is inefficient.

  • Sean Healy||

    The smoking issue is a beautiful test for whether someone truly opposes forcing other people to provide them with the environment they want

    You're talking about the way smokers blithely assumed the privilege of fouling the air for everybody else, right? No? Why is it that a smoker in a bar is exercising a right while a non-smoker who supports the ban is merely asserting a preference? It wouldn't be because libertarians stack the rhetorical deck on this issue, would it?

    The hidden assumption in this discussion is that smoking is a natural condition of bars, but it is more accurate to see it as an epiphenomenon of the primary activity - drinking. In other words, the state of nature (if you will) of a bar is smoke-free. Therefore smokers arrogated to themselves at some point the privilege of smoking without (as far as it is possible to tell) ever seeking the consent of others who might be negatively affected by this action or offering any compensation for harm done. Given this, how, exactly, does the smoker get to claim a "right" to alter the (state of nature) environmental conditions which a non-smoker could just as validly claim as his "right"?

    Thus framed the issue is less about free choice in an open market (which in any case was always a red herring since there was never the option for non-smokers to express a preference in the market for non-smoking bars) than about competing claims on political rights/privileges. I imagine even libertarians concede that the institutions of government are the correct forum for the resolution of political disputes, but I'm open to correction. More controversially, I imagine libertarians are interested in maximizing freedom, not merely minimizing government so I hope people here are at least open to the possibility that a ban on smoking could at least theoretically advance the goal of more liberty.

    Anyway, what nobody here is saying is that the bans were legislatively framed as workplace bans - the customers figure less than the employees. It follows logically and morally that an employer who is required by law to provide a safe place of work can't really allow smoking on the premises any more than he could allow his more disgusting clientele to piss or shit on the floors.

  • ||

    Market failure is when a market arrives at an inefficient outcome for the whole.,/i>

    I think that definition is too broad, or at least incomplete. Every outcome could be more efficient, after all, even when we all agree the market is working just fine. Markets are constantly evolving toward greater efficiency, after all. Since tomorrow's market solution will be more efficient, does that mean that today's market is failing?

  • ||

    Why is it that a smoker in a bar is exercising a right while a non-smoker who supports the ban is merely asserting a preference?

    Perhaps because the smoker wants to engage in a personal activity, and the non-smoker is trying to dictate the behavior of others.

  • ||

    "It follows logically and morally that an employer who is required by law to provide a safe place of work can't really allow smoking on the premises any more than he could allow his more disgusting clientele to piss or shit on the floors."

    Nor should they allow finger-licking which has a direct and immediate effect on the health of the employees.

    Finger-licking/improper hand hygiene spreads infectious disease which causes workers to lose money due to time off, threatens the life of those with compromised immune systems or those they know with compromised systems, and is all around disgusting.

    Smoking on the other hand requires decades of close contact to cause health problems.

  • Sean Healy||

    Perhaps because the smoker wants to engage in a personal activity, and the non-smoker is trying to dictate the behavior of others.

    What definitions of "personal" and "dictate" are you using? I'm trying to think of a personal activity that changes the composition of the air for the worse. I'm also trying to think of how drving non-smokers from bars is NOT in some way dictating behavior.

  • Formerly Jennifer||

    "It follows logically and morally that an employer who is required by law to provide a safe place of work can't really allow smoking on the premises any more than he could allow his more disgusting clientele to piss or shit on the floors."

    But what about those employees who WANT to smoke? My anecdotal impression is that there are many bartenders, waitstaff, and cooks who smoke. Is it really more conducive to their good health to make them stand outside in ones and twos in the winter than to let them take their breaks at a warm table in the smoking section?

    Parenthetically, I remember reading that hospital workers are (slightly?) more likely to be smokers than the general population. No real point, just interesting info. :)

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I'm also trying to think of how drving non-smokers from bars is NOT in some way dictating behavior.

    In the same way that vegan stores drive out meat-eaters. The store chooses what it wants to sell (in a bar with smoking, that would be a smoking atmosphere). You are more than free not to patronize something that does not offer the product you want.

    Smokers do not, sui generis, foul the air. Bar owners (you know, the owners who invested their time and capital into the enterprise) choose to allow smoking in their business.

    That's the opposite of force; that's free association.

  • ||

    I'm also trying to think of how drving non-smokers from bars is NOT in some way dictating behavior.

    You have to think about this?

    You have a choice as to whether to enter a private business and engage in commerce or not. If not this bar, then you can choose to go to another; they are not all identical in design and practice. A bar owner can choose as to whether to allow smoking in his bar or not, whether he wants to accommodate non-smokers with a separate bar or smoke filters, etc, etc.

    A smoking ban removes all elements of choice. It also removes any competitive advantage to having non-smoking bars, in addition to rendering any sunk capital associated with complying with previous smoking laws moot. These expenditures are not insignificant and can run well into 6-figures.

    I, and many other, rank the freedom to choose much, much higher than a state enforced lifestyle preference.

  • ||

    On the topic of smokers arrogance, I find it amusing that people insist that "the market has spoken" with regard to non-smoking bars in the absences of bans. The same people that glory in the many faceted innovative outcomes of a free and open market somehow look at the fact that no bars choose to ban smoking and say - "see, this is the right and only good choice, the market is always right"

  • ||

    "see, this is the right and only good choice, the market is always right"

    And now the market in many jurisdictions is now nothing but non-smoking bars and restaurants.

    The "market" can be many things and for many reasons. The only difference here is that you are applying and ends-based test to the market and the rest of us are applying a means-based test. As such, results will differ as to the the "correct" composition of this market.

  • ||

    domoarrigato | December 10, 2008, 8:02am | #

    1. Have you noticed how important having a smoke is for a smoker who has been drinking for a couple of hours?

    Spoken like a true member of the Black Lung Society.


    It's not relevant to the argument, but I'm a lifelong nonsmoker. However, I have fond memories of watching smokers jones for a cig while playing Pass Out in college. Also, at social events I tend to hang out with the smokers because over the years I've found that they tend to be more interesting and fun. YMMV.

    Sean Healy | December 10, 2008, 10:27am | #

    The hidden assumption in this discussion is that smoking is a natural condition of bars, but it is more accurate to see it as an epiphenomenon of the primary activity - drinking.


    Epiphenomenon is a pretty big word for someone who failed reading comprehension. Go back and read the posts on this thread and tell me where someone says that smoking is a "natural" condition in bars. It's natural to the degree that some patrons wish to do it and some owners find it profitable to allow them.

    domoarrigato | December 10, 2008, 5:15pm | #

    On the topic of smokers arrogance, I find it amusing that people insist that "the market has spoken" with regard to non-smoking bars in the absences of bans. ...the market is always right."


    That's a fair assessment of how some libertarians think. I'm willing to settle for: If you think the market is wrong, you should provide evidence or a logical argument. Otherwise, I'm more inclined to believe the market than you. Also, "I don't like this outcome." =/= "The market is wrong." And after you present your evidence or argument, you should be willing to listen to why other people think you are wrong.

    For example I think hot dogs in packages of 10 and hot dog buns in packages of 8 are a crystal clear market failure, but I'm willing to be corrected.

  • ||

    This will blow the whole reason for smoking bans

    wide open.


    THE 1ST WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST PROHIBITION

    "SMOKING BANS AND LIES"

    IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING 27/28 JAN 2009

    Read all about it and attend the Conference

    to hear the TRUTH.

    http://www.antiprohibition.org/ticap_pages.php?q=6

  • ||

    Well it is nice to read the truth for a change and not just the blatant propaganda and misinformation.
    Smoke-hater were never banned from investing their own money into smoke-free venues, were they?
    Shaun, black lungs are what coal miners get isn't it.
    Cancer is on the increase, asthma is on the increase, it does not take a rocket scientist to see something stinks here, not the smokers.
    freedom2choose.info for smokers and non-smokers alike, fighting for choice and TRUTH

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