Also on the smoking topic, Paul Gessing blogs on the mythical argument that smokers use more health care and pass those costs on to others (justifying higher taxes on smokers to pay for government health care programs). Gessing notes studies show that smoker and the obese use less health care, because they don’t require as much end of life care (i.e. they die sooner). That doesn’t mean government should enourage people to smoke and eat fatty foods to save on health care cost, but certainly undermines the “public cost” argument for regulating personal behavior.
A new study in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Public Economics finds that “smoking bans increase drunken-driving fatalities”; reported on the Marginal Revolution blog. This effect is due to people driving farther to find venues where they can smoke and drink.