Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Effect of Bans and Taxes on Passive Smoking

This just out looks interesting:
Adda, Jérôme, and Francesca Cornaglia. 2010. "The Effect of Bans and Taxes on Passive Smoking." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(1): 1–32.
DOI:10.1257/app.2.1.1

Abstract
We evaluate the effect of smoking bans and excise taxes on the exposure to tobacco smoke of nonsmokers, and we show their unintended consequences on children. Smoking bans perversely increase nonsmokers' exposure by displacing smokers to private places where they contaminate nonsmokers. We exploit data on bio-samples of cotinine, time use, and smoking cessation, as well as state and time variation in anti-smoking policies across US states. We find that higher taxes are an efficient way to decrease exposure to tobacco smoke.

1 comment:

snowbird said...

Cotinine???

There are studies showing that people exposed to passive smoke

have cotinine in their urine, and it is suggested that this is evidence

of danger.

A little background. Cotinine is a natural metabolite - that is, a

byproduct of nicotine breakdown in the body - so if you’ve got it in

your urine it means you’ve been exposed to nicotine. But nicotine

sticks around on walls and garments and abounds even in vegetables

(especially tomatoes); therefore, a non-smoker living in a nonsmoking

environment and who eats certain vegetables may have

abundant cotinine in his urine without ever having been exposed

(those studies almost never check for diet.) Some studies measure

cotinine directly on the subjects (i.e. in the hair) rather than in urine.

Still, the presence of cotinine only indicates exposure to nicotine. It

does not prove risk, and is therefore meaningless as a marker of risk.

Keep also in mind that nicotine has been found safe at the doses

experienced by active smokers, witness that the US Food and Drug

Administration and other official regularory agencies worldwide

approve the sale without prescription of nicotine patches and gums

that contain more nicotine than smokers get from a pack of

cigarettes.