Francesca Cornaglia is visiting us from University College London at present. Her work is on smoking, and today she presented results on the effect of smoking taxes and bans on passive smoking, using variation across US states during the 1990s. Her findings? In the case of taxes, higher cigarette taxes slightly reduce the amount of bad stuff inhaled by of non-smokers.
But the most interesting result was on the effect of smoking bans. Banning smoking in public places increases the amount inhaled by children. The intuition is simple, but not something I’d thought about before. If we prevent smokers from lighting up in bars, they’re more likely to go home and light up in front of their children.