Smoking Bans: The Silent Killer

The Economist—the most serious magazine in the world—argues today that America's smoking bans have killed untold numbers of innocent people. While bans on smoking in public places are in place theoretically to save us from ourselves, the piecemeal approach America has taken to instituting them has led to huge leaps in fatal accidents involving alcohol.

Researchers "found a smoking ban increased fatal alcohol-related car accidents by 13% in a typical county containing 680,000 people. This is the equivalent of 2.5 fatal accidents (equivalent to approximately six deaths). Furthermore, drunk-driving smokers have not changed their ways over time. In areas where the ban has been in place for longer than 18 months, the increased accident rate is 19%."

Accidents in one Pennsylvania county have gone up 26% since neighboring Delaware instituted its own smoking ban in 2002. The county between non-smoking Boulder and smoky Denver? Up 40%. Clearly we should reinstitute smoking everywhere and then ban cars, nationwide. [Economist]