So in my little Alaskan town the fight is over the last four places you are able to smoke indoors – two bars and the Moose and American Legion halls.
We’re going to the polls in October to see if they should be ordered to desist. I’m not totally pessimistic about the outcome. There was a lot of grumbling when this came up – even from non-smokers. I was surprised to hear one doctor say that the law was extremely mean.
I’d like to see these last four places continue to allow smoking – even though I never step foot in any of them. Well one place, one time, but it was a few years ago. People need a place to go and it rains like the dickens here and gets cold, often at the same time.
Anyway, in 2005 the voters here passed a law that prohibits smoking in all places of employment or public access – but which permitted bars and clubs to allow smoking if they desired. Out of the 16 or so places that could allow smoking, all but these four went smoke-free.
Now one of the main arguments is that “comprehensive no-smoking laws lead to health benefits.” A common claim is that hearth attacks, city-wide — will drop by 17 percent the first year and 33 percent the second year.
These figures are down considerably from the claim a few years ago of a 50 percent drop in heart attacks – within 6 months, if I remember correctly — in those towns that adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws. There were other claims, too.
Well, the number of people exposed to secondhand smoke at work or dinner has fallen considerably. In the last five years on the Left Coast and the Northeast, restaurants and workplaces that previously allowed smoking have been becoming extinct faster than respected bankers.
So where’s the Beef?
Again, where are the studies showing that in roughly half the country, the number of heart attacks have dropped to a noticeable degree? Seems like people would notice. All those cardiologists at the golf course? Seems like a serious drop in hearth attacks would be good news, huh? The kind of news that would get out?
I know in my town a “nearly” completely comprehensive smoking law was passed, ending smoking “nearly” everywhere. So, there should be “nearly” the health improvements that the law’s supporters claimed. I haven’t heard of any here.
Have there been those benefits among the residents of New York City? Of San Francisco? Seems like it’s been long enough for the benefits to kick in.
Where’s the Beef?