Friday, October 10, 2008

Does economics support the smoking bans?

……looking through the lens of an econometrician
Econometric studies undertaken by smoke free advocates, on the effect of smoking bans on restaurant industry in several locations in California and Massachusetts shows that smoking bans have not harmed the restaurant industry. Some have even shown an increase in overall restaurant business. Their findings are however based on restaurant sales-tax receipts or other aggregate data.

Does this mean smoking bans are really a “win-win situation for restaurant owners”? Also is it justifiable for the authorities to tell property owners that they can’t allow smoking on their premises?

Not necessarily as the studies supporting smoking bans are based on aggregated restaurant sales data; that is, they look at the “restaurant industry” in the smoke-free communities. Also from the economic perspective, it largely ignores the concept of private property rights acting as an essential prerequisite and a fundamental linchpin of wealth creation in a market economy.

However the following are sufficient reasons for smoke free advocates to remain undeterred on their stand-
1) Environmental tobacco smoke “is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults”
2) It harms the “respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of children”

Richa Shukla
Globsyn Business School

No comments: