Smoking bans cause alcohol related accidents?

Jacob Sullum over at Reason has information on a new study that deals with smoking bans:

A new study reported in the Journal of Public Economics finds that smoking bans are associated with increases in alcohol-related traffic deaths. “We observe an increase in fatal accidents involving alcohol following bans on smoking in bars that is not observed in places without bans,” the researchers report. They surmise that drinkers respond to bans by driving further to find bars where they’re allowed to light up, either because the bars are in a different jurisdiction or because they have outdoor seating

Surely, Sonny Perdue now regrets signing the smoking ban into law in 2005 since he is using neo-prohibitionist talking points while he was fighting off Sunday alcohol sales during this past session. I’m sure that he will seek a repeal of the law next year.


  1. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I am not suprised by such a finding. This same concept applies to “prohibitionist” policies such as the one recently cited by Governour Perdue as his “factual” data for his decision making.

  2. John Konop says:


    Let me follow your logic. A person smokes in a public place and causes cancer via second hand smoke to people who do not smoke. A law is put in place to stop a smoker from killing other people. So now that person drives drunk against the law because he no longer can kill people in public places via smoking. You think the law is wrong to ban smoking in public place because the killer is now using a car drunk while smoking, instead of just killing people with second hand smoke.

    Are you against any personal responsibility at all? Do you think if laws are not followed like speeding, drunk driving… we should get rid of them?

    Am I missing something?

  3. Tommy_a2b says:

    John Konop, do you believe in the free market and personal responsibility? Your logic is extremely flawed and you seem to have a bone to pick with Jason. If people want to smoke in a private buisness that allows smoking then they should be allowed. Tell the government to stay out of it. If you go into such a place and you are offened you should tell the owner or the manager and then leave. No one forces you to stay. You claim to be conservative and yet you sound as if you are a nanny state moderate. Am I confused or is it you just do not like Pye. If it is the latter I recommend you find a hobby outside of politics. Pye is younger and I am sure he plans on outliving you.

  4. John Konop says:

    It is a fact second hand smoke kills people. If you want to smoke yourself to death that is your GOD given right in America. If you want to drink yourself to death that is your GOD given right in America.

    Yet it is not your right to take away other people’s right by giving them cancer via second hand smoke.

    How is it free market to kill other people with your smoke in a public place? Do you think you should have the right to shoot people in your business who work for you or customers for no reason?

    I have no issue with bars or smoking rooms for adults who all elect to make that decision. But in a public place you have no right to kill others.

  5. Jace Walden says:


    If I want to allow someone to smoke on my property, that’s my choice. If you don’t like the smoke, but still want to come on my property, your choices are:

    (1) Deal with the smoke
    (2) Stay at home

    It’s really that cut and dry.

    And to answer the question you have regarding personal responsibility. No. I’m not against the exercise of ANY free will as long as in the exercising of that free will, you don’t infringe on my rights.

  6. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I was just checking out some numbers from the American Cancer Society. There is a disclaimer about deaths caused by second-hand smoke…the numbers only apply to people that live with smokers.
    I am not an MD, but I can not see how temporary exposure to second hand smoke is any worse for an individual than sitting in rush hour traffic.
    The experiment has gone on long enough, let businesses decide whether they will accomodate smoking or not.

  7. John Konop says:


    Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is a complex mixture of gases and particles that includes smoke from the burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe tip (sidestream smoke) and exhaled mainstream smoke.1

    Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic, including more than 50 that can cause cancer.1

    Secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.2
    Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30% and their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.2

    Breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system that can increase the risk of heart attack. People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk.2

    Secondhand smoke exposure causes respiratory symptoms in children and slows their lung growth.2

    Secondhand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children.2

    There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. Even brief exposure can be dangerous.2

    Exposure to nicotine and secondhand smoke is measured by testing the saliva, urine, or blood for the presence of a chemical called cotinine. Cotinine is a byproduct of nicotine metabolization, and tobacco is the only source of this marker.2

    From 1988–91 to 2001–02, the proportion of nonsmokers with detectable levels cotinine was halved (from 88% to 43%).3
    Over that same time period, cotinine levels in those who were exposed to secondhand smoke fell by 70%.3

    More than 126 million nonsmoking Americans continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in homes, vehicles, workplaces, and public places.2

    Most exposure to tobacco smoke occurs in homes and workplaces.2

    Almost 60% of U.S. children aged 3–11 years—or almost 22 million children—are exposed to secondhand smoke.2

    About 25% of children aged 3–11 years live with at least one smoker, compared to only about 7% of nonsmoking adults.2

    The California Environmental Protection Agency estimates that secondhand smoke exposure causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700–69,600 heart disease deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States.4

    Each year in the United States, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in children aged less than 18 months. This results in 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations, annually.5

  8. Tommy_a2b says:

    John Konop, it is a typical defense to change the subject as you are trying to do.

    We are not discussing public places only (I assume you mean govt buildings and not outdoor parks and common properties because then your argument would be even weaker than it already is.) We are discussing business and you know it.

    And yes I do think it is okay to shoot dumb a$$ people in my office being I own it. If they are an intruder and trying to cause harm to me or mine.

    Just admit you are wrong on this topic and we will stop making fun of you. Any other questions be sure to read Jace Walden’s comment below yours first.

  9. Tommy_a2b says:

    Did you just site the California Environmental Protection Agency???? Please for the love of God stop. I gotta get some real work done and I can’t focus through the laughing.

  10. Rogue109 says:


    Now, your statistics are awfully scary but the key line from your facts is this one: “Most exposure to tobacco smoke occurs in homes and workplaces.”

    So why can’t businesses choose if they are going to allow smoking in them? Let market forces decide! A “Chuck E. Cheese” isn’t going to allow smoking but there is no reason why a bar or pub shouldn’t be allowed to do so! Since all these kids with bronchitis and pneumonia probably aren’t hanging out with a pint of stout at 9 p.m. on a Thursday at a bar, how are they hurt?

    How is it free market to kill other people with your smoke in a public place?

    Because a private business is not a public place in the sense you are thinking of.

  11. John Konop says:


    Why would you exclude outdoor parks and common properties? Did you read the CDC report?

    Also I never said an intruder. Do you think you can kill someone in your office building for no reason because you own the property?

  12. Rogue109 says:

    Do you think you can kill someone in your office building for no reason because you own the property?

    Wrong way to ask the question.

    People have the choice to enter into the building or not.

  13. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I long for the day when smokers and non-smokers can live together in peace.
    Perhaps all it would take would be the legalization of cannabis.

  14. Tommy_a2b says:

    John I was kiddin on the intruder. If you think a person is likely to get cancer from second hand smoke outside then they are probably performing mouth to mouth. I do not hane to read the report to know that fact.

    Again I am trying to work!

  15. John Konop says:


    We pay taxes for the art museum, parks…… why should a smoker have more rights than a non smoker

    Also if I take me kid to a hospital or building with a doctor in it should a smoker have more rights than a smoker?

    How about a mall?

    As I said if someone smokes and takes the risk of lung cancer and heart disease so be it. But they do not have the right to expose others if they do not want to be exposed to the risk of second hand smoke.

    The difference between drinking is the person has a choice. Would you be for employers or the government forcing people to drink?

  16. CobbGOPer says:

    And Superman (Christopher Reeve)’s wife died from lung cancer too! Wait, she wasn’t a smoker…

    Then Chris Reeve must have been a smoker! Wait, he wasn’t one either?

    Then she MUST have worked in a bar! No, not that either…

    Look, smoking isn’t great for you, and it certainly can contribute to developing cancer. But a number of factors can come into play, and honestly, if you’re worried about people getting cancer from second-hand smoke, you’d be more effective going after auto makers for their crap emissions standards.

    Trust me, sitting in rush hour traffic in Atlanta (and you all know what I’m talking about) is MUCH worse on your lungs than hanging out in a bar or on a restaurant patio where some (not all) people may be smoking.

    But I digress, the point of all this is to show that the Governor is still stupid when it comes to his stance on Sunday Sales.

    Actually, the Governor is still stupid period. No further explanation is needed.

  17. Rogue109 says:


    Hmmm, we may be writing about two different things here. I’m just writing about the bar/restaurant ban.

    We pay taxes for the art museum, parks…… why should a smoker have more rights than a non smoker

    Yeah, like I wrote, I’m not really taking issue so much with bans on parks. Also, which art museum are you paying taxes for (grin)?

    Also if I take me kid to a hospital or building with a doctor in it should a smoker have more rights than a smoker?

    The building should be able to ban smokers if it wants to. On the flip side, they should allow it if they want to. You seem to keep forgetting that you can choose to visit businesses based on if they allow smokers or not, and smokers can do the same. It’s not about having more or less rights; it’s about people being able to make decisions for themselves.

    If smokers have some building where their pleasure is permitted, then you don’t have to go in there! Then, the doctor who you want to visit with your son (who you seem to think will crumble at the very wisp of a foul substance in the air) will lose business. If the doctor wants to keep operating, he may want to move to a building where smoking is forbidden and where you feel bringing your kid-o. And, no, I’m NOT slamming your kid (grin). Being protective is just fine.

    How about a mall?

    Same thing, John! If a mall wants to allow smoking, another one is going to ban it! You seem to be operating under the assumption that 0% of businesses nationwide banned smoking before Big Brother came on scene. It just isn’t true.

    Do you take your kid to a nude beach? (I’m going to assume the answer is “no”). Taking that assumption as the truth, why not? Aren’t you all worked up that those naked people are using the beach and keeping you from doing so, as well? They are limiting you because, of course, your kid would be mentally damaged if he saw all that saggy flesh. Come to think of it, so would I. But, seriously, why should your “right” to use a beach be “limited” by some guy who wants his wee-wee to get a dose of vitamin D?

    Regardless, the point is the same. Nude beaches or smoking in buildings: if you don’t want to participate, don’t go! Then, you can visit the beaches where you sit in a swimsuit and visit the building that bans smoking.

    As I said if someone smokes and takes the risk of lung cancer and heart disease so be it. But they do not have the right to expose others if they do not want to be exposed to the risk of second hand smoke.

    So, then, only patronize places that ban smoking, for Pete’s Sake!

    The difference between drinking is the person has a choice. Would you be for employers or the government forcing people to drink?

    Come on, dude. Is that a serious question?

  18. Jace Walden says:


    I’m not referring to establishments that are taxpayer funded (i.e. Government Buildings, Parks, Etc.). I’m referring to privately owned establishments that cater to the general public (i.e. Bars, Restaurants, Etc.)

    While a bar or restaurant may serve the “general public”, it is still owned by a private citizen. The bar is his/her private property. It is no different than his house. He has the ultimate authority to decide what conduct is appropriate on his property.

    If someone doesn’t like the smoke, they can speak to him privately or frequent an establishment that has a “No Smoking” policy. In America, that’s what we call “Freedom”.

    Now, I actually agree with you on smoking policy in publicly-owned (read: taxpayer-owned) places. Although I’m not to keen on the concept of “public property”, it does exist in this country and therefore should be ruled by the will of the “people”.

  19. rugby fan says:

    And I call freedom the ability for a majority of the population to call for laws that don’t damage their health (ex: second hand smoke and outlawing smoking in restaurants).

  20. Jace Walden says:


    It’s quite simple. If I own a restaurant and want to allow smoking, your choices are:

    (1) Deal with the smoke
    (2) Go somewhere else

    No majority has a right to deprive a minority of its rights. That’s what we call “Tyranny of the Majority.” America is not a democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner.

  21. Demonbeck says:

    John Konop said,
    “Would you be for employers or the government forcing people to drink?”

    I am troubled as to what the best response would be to this statement. If someone could please help me choose from the following…

    A. Now THAT’s the kind of socialist government I could get behind!

    B. That would explain many of the ineptitudes we currently find in government services

    C. Boy, those government jobs sure have nice perks!

  22. rugby fan says:

    America is not a democracy but it is democratic.

    If people say, this action infringes on my rights (namely, smoking, and the second hand effects that damage one’s health), I would like it legislated, then that is their right to do so.

    While the majority should not deprive the minority of their rights, it is far more egregious for the minority to dictate what the majority can or can not do.

  23. Jace Walden says:

    The “limits” of what the government can and cannot do for the “majority” are clearly defined in the constitution (Although, admittedly, that document has been pissed, crapped, and thrown up on since the mid 1800s). The government has no authority to regulate the legal behavior that a property owner chooses to allow on his/her private property.

    And let’s not mince words, that’s what a Restaurant is. Private Property, just like someone’s house or car. If I want to allow smoking in my house or car, that’s my right. If I want to allow smoking at my bar, that’s my right.

    You have the right to run me out of business by not going to my restaurant and encouraging others not to do so.

    The free-market regulates itself. It doesn’t need the majority’s help.

  24. rugby fan says:

    Ultimately Jace, I think this issue, like so many others, can’t be explained as simply as we are attempting to.

    Yes, property owners have rights to allow what they want but if the people want to legislate activities that affect them, they have the right to do so. If you were to ask me, a proper “solution” requires a fair amount of nuance and is not simple.

    Then again, simplicity and the American democratic system have never gone hand-in-hand.

  25. Jace Walden says:

    The point of contention between us on this issue, Rugby, is whether or not a government is allowed to overstep its constitutionally defined limits simply because a “majority” says it can. Our founders knew all too well the damage of the “tyranny of the majority”, that’s why they put clearly defined limits on the role of government in the constitution. Limits that, would basically require an act of God to change. The constitution has been amended 27 times, and more than half of those amendments are ones that give more power to the PEOPLE.

    A person can legislate what happens on my property. It’s called boycotting. If there truly is a “majority” of people who don’t want smoking to go on at my establishment, then they’ll stop coming and I’ll be forced (by the market) to either (1) Change my policy or (2) Go out of business. No increase in the size and scope of government needed.

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