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Taco John
04-04-2008, 04:58 PM
Study links smoking bans to increasd DWIs


Alexandra Clinton
Correspondent for The Capital Times 4/04/2008 10:57 am

Enacting city smoking bans appears to increase drunken driving, a study of arrests conducted by Wisconsin researchers asserts.

A national study to be released by the Journal of Public Economics found an increase of fatal accidents involving alcohol after communities prohibited smoking, compared to arrests in communities without a ban.

The authors attribute that to people driving to places without a ban, and also to driving farther to find a place within a ban area that has an outdoor smoking accommodation, such as a patio.

"The increased miles driven by drivers who wish to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home after a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents," the study says.

The authors, Scott Adams of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Economics Department and Chad Cotti, currently at the University of South Carolina, call the results "surprising."

"We thought we would see a reduction," Adams said. "Our first thought was, 'Throw it away, it must be wrong.' "

However, Adams said the claim is backed up by the data.

The 2-year study looks at highway fatality data involving a driver with blood alcohol content over 0.08 in cities and counties with bans and compares it to incidences in surrounding areas without bans. The study was not funded by outside organizations, the authors said.

Results show an increase in accidents in areas after smoking bans were enacted and near the jurisdiction lines.

Smoke Free Wisconsin Executive Director Maureen Busalacchi said she was skeptical.

"People travel to a myriad of places," Busalacchi said today. "How would you possibly control all those factors?"

Busalacchi said she did not agree with linking accidents to the ban because people could be traveling to drink for different reasons than just to smoke at a bar.

"How in the world you would figure out where people are traveling unless you are interviewing them?" she asked.

Adams said the results were comparable nationwide, with the exception of New England, where there are many smoking bans.

The study, which used data from 2001 to 2005, did not look at counties in Wisconsin.

The state was probably ruled out, Adams said, because Appleton and its ban was too small an area and data collection started before Madison's 2005 smoke ban.

Although Adams said he is not necessarily a policy advocate, he said a well-enforced national smoking ban would get rid of the drunken driving increases related to smoke bans.

Busalacchi said Wisconsin is getting closer to becoming smoke-free by passing community laws.

"Clearly, for the health of our public, we need to do this on a statewide basis, and clearly communities are moving pretty quickly," Busalacchi said.

Fitchburg's smoking ban started April 1, Eau Claire's will start July 1 and Marshfield residents just approved a ban Tuesday.


http://www.madison.com/tct/mad/topstories/280154

Taco John
04-04-2008, 04:59 PM
Here's my favorite police state quote from the article:

"Although Adams said he is not necessarily a policy advocate, he said a well-enforced national smoking ban would get rid of the drunken driving increases related to smoke bans."

whoman69
04-04-2008, 06:57 PM
I don't buy their end result. To me it seems just as likely that with the longer trips these drunks are taking, they are getting caught more frequently. They were still driving drunk before. They just weren't getting caught because of the shorter trip involved. Once could just as easily claim that the smoking bans are making our streets safer because now these criminals are getting caught.

keg in kc
04-04-2008, 07:10 PM
an increase of fatal accidents involving alcohol after communities prohibited smoking, compared to arrests in communities without a banSo they're comparing the increase in the number of fatalities in smoke-free areas versus the change in the number of arrests (do they specify an increase or a decrease in the article?) in other areas? I don't get that. Why not compare fatalaties to fatalities or arrests to arrests? That makes me suspicious for some reason.

banyon
04-04-2008, 09:36 PM
As a socialist, I am of course against the ban, but I wanted to supplement the author's insight here (thought the above concerns about the compared variables is shared).

Just from my own personal dalliance in pre-and post smoking ban bars (Lawrence). I had many friends tell me that they found that they drank more when they didn't smoke. They usually say it's because smoking "gave them something to do with their hands" which, while indoors, they replace with drink. Many of them estimated that they drank about 30% or so more than before the ban on a "drinking" night. Anecdotal I know, but it seemed to have some merit.

jAZ
04-04-2008, 11:14 PM
The authors attribute that to people driving to places without a ban, and also to driving farther to find a place within a ban area that has an outdoor smoking accommodation, such as a patio.
Seems like drunks were getting away with DWI a lot more before the ban.

SBK
04-04-2008, 11:56 PM
Here in GA you can't smoke in restaurants at all. It's great for those who don't smoke, as you never stink anymore....Especially at Waffle House.

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04-05-2008, 02:07 AM
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jAZ
04-05-2008, 09:53 AM
Here in GA you can't smoke in restaurants at all. It's great for those who don't smoke, as you never stink anymore....Especially at Waffle House.
I lived briefly in Atlanta back in early 2001 and I was shocked to see people smoking just about anywhere they want. You haven't been able to smoke in Arizona anywhere but bars for maybe 10 years or more. And most didn't allow it before that. Just the truck-stops and wafflehouses, etc.