The Effect of Smoking Bans on Exercising by Non-smokers
By Joshua Hall
Smoking bans have shown to have many effects, some intended, some unintended, like Adams and Cotti's (2008, Journal of Public Economics) finding that smoking bans led to more fatal accidents from drunk driving. The mechanism is that smokers were driving farther to find bars located in areas where smoking was allowed. While considerable attention has been played to the positive effects of smoking bans on non-smokers health from not being exposed to second-hand smoke, not much attention has been paid to other ways smoking bans might influence non-smoker health. For example, to the extent non-smokers were frequenting bars less because of smoke, smoking bans should lead to higher bar attendance by non-smokers. Higher bar attendance can be associated with higher levels of alcohol use and decreases in other activities positively related to health, such as exercise. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) might have the data that would let researchers look at the effect of smoking bans on exercise levels by non-smokers to see if going out is a substitute for working out.