Archives for smoking



If You Have to Walk Outside to Smoke, Does the Exercise Benefit Counteract the Smoking?

A reader named Aras Gaure, who identifies himself as a trainee with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, writes to us:

At my workplace, smoking is prohibited –- as in a substantial number of other indoor workplaces. In order for me to have a smoke, I have to walk about 10 meters, get down 2 flights of stairs (a total of nineteen steps), and then walk 15 meters to the nearest terrace. In one workday, I have about 4-5 cigarettes, which means I cover a distance of about 200-250 meters and between 144 and 180 steps every day with regard to my smoking. Many people obviously smoke more and have to cover an even greater distance in order to have a cigarette. As a result of continuous bans on smoking around the world, people (who don’t quit) in many cases have to go through physical exertion numerous times a day to have a smoke. My question is whether or not this (in any sense or form) can be considered beneficial (especially for people who otherwise wouldn’t get this exercise)?

An interesting question but my sense is that the amount of exercise Aras describes — or even 5x that amount — is so minimal that it wouldn’t come close to offsetting the downsides of smoking. There are certain reported “health benefits of smoking,” including weight loss, but even for someone who likes finding counterintuitive trends, I have a hard time buying Aras’s wishful thinking. Am I wrong?



Do Smoking Bans Lead to More Fires?

Death by fire has declined significantly over the past 100 years, but there’s one surprising policy that may actually increase the prevalence of fires: smoking restrictions and bans. Read More »



On-Screen Smoking Down (But Still High)

From a new CDC report: “To monitor the extent to which tobacco use is shown in popular movies, Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! (TUTD), a project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, counted the occurrences of tobacco use (termed “incidents”) shown in U.S. top-grossing movies during 1991-2009. This report summarizes the results of that study, which found that the number of tobacco incidents depicted in the movies during this period peaked in 2005 and then progressively declined.” Read More »



The Kids are Alright

Today’s kids take less risks than the kids of the early 90s. Read More »



Why Have Smoking Bans Caught On So Easily?

Henry Farrell at the Crooked Timber blog argues that smoking bans succeed in large part because prevailing societal norms about smoking – e.g. “That Irish people can smoke in pubs to their hearts’ content, and that others will just have to put up with it” – were much weaker than we thought. Read More »



"Our Rollers Are Worried"

The new tax hike on tobacco products went into effect yesterday. There are few better examples for Econ 1, and the players involved clearly understand the issues. For cigars, my smoke of choice, the tax on good domestically produced cigars rises from 5 to 40 cents. “Many of our rollers are worried,” Hector Ventura, operations […] Read More »



Smoker-in-Chief

Yesterday my 7-year-old daughter, Anya, was wearing a T-shirt I’d never seen before. It was a Barack Obama shirt. I asked where it came from. She said that someone gave it to her back in the fall, after he was elected. But why finally wear it now? Well, the kids are on spring break and […] Read More »



By Your Own Emissions

| We reported a while back that the true private mortality cost of smoking a pack of cigarettes is close to $222. It turns out smoking has a serious environmental impact as well. Assuming all 5.5 trillion cigarettes produced around the world each year get smoked, smokers produce 84,878 tons of particulate air pollution annually […] Read More »