Do Smoking Bans Improve Health?

No. This is a 2010 NBER paper that I previously overlooked:

U.S. state and local governments have increasingly adopted restrictions on smoking in public places. This paper analyzes nationally representative databases, including the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, to compare short-term changes in mortality and hospitalization rates in smoking-restricted regions with control regions. In contrast with smaller regional studies, we find that smoking bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases. An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a smoking ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature.

More on the study on cigarettes and lifetime risks by HT: John Dunn.

Comments (3)

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  1. Brian Williams. says:

    I wonder what the 400,000 people who die each year from smoking will think about this.

  2. Norm says:

    Note the key clause: “smoking bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines”. In other words, the jury is still out.

  3. Buster says:

    Smoking bans may not work; but what about banning smokers?