Friday, June 25, 2010

Smoking ban or cigarette taxation?

While people are now used to widespread smoking bans in the United States, European countries are right now going through the painful transitions, with the expected anxieties from restaurant and bar owners. They will do fine, but one can still ask whether simple taxation of tobacco would not be sufficient and especially more efficient in internalizing second hand smoke.

Charles de Bartolome and Ian Irvine note that taxation has a major problem here: the emergence of a thriving black market. Banning smoking in public areas also has a major disadvantage, namely that one can smoke more at home, potentially exposing more family members and especially children (see previous post in this regard). De Bartolome and Irvine give a counterargument: a ban interrupts to continues flow of nicotine, making it emotionally more expensive to the smoker, and possibly may also drive him to abandon smoking more than a tax could. We now need a paper that disentangles the quantitative effects of the polices to sort it out.


Dan in Euroland said...

Well bans have an enforcement problem as the City of NY has found out with nightclubs and the smoking ban.

Some clubs and bars have implemented tip jars to pay for the smoking citations the bar receives. And people willingly contribute.

arcellgonzalez said...
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Vilfredo said...

Turns out there is no negative employment effect on bars and restaurants from smoking bans: link.