Smoking bans in bars and restaurants reduce overall smoking rates

HealthDay (1/17, Preidt, 7K) reports that a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that smoking bans in US bars and restaurants “have helped reduce overall smoking rates, especially among people with higher levels of education.” Based on 25 years of data, researchers found that among individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree, “the number who smoked fell by about 20 percent if they lived in areas that don’t allow smoking in bars and restaurants.” However, the researchers caution that the study “couldn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between indoor smoking bans and reduced smoking rates.”

Smoking costs the US more than $300 billion each year, analysis finds. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1/17, Parker, 1.22M) reports that smoking costs the United States over $300 billion each year, according to WalletHub. WalletHub’s analysis included “potential monetary losses due to smoking for each area by calculating the cost of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs.” They found that Georgia “has the second lowest ‘true per-person cost of smoking’” at $22,675 annually. New York had the highest true per-person cost at $45,694 annually. Additional coverage is provided by the Connecticut Post (1/17, Cuda, 222K).

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