Friday, January 21, 2011

Letter Mississippi Senate and House Public Health Committees Chairmen

Dear Representative Holland and Senator Bryan,

I am writing to warn you concerning promises made to your committees by public health officials that a statewide smoking ban would slash heart attack rates in Mississippi. Previous small studies did seem support such a promise. But a just published comprehensive, national study by researchers from the Rand Corporation, University of Wisconsin and Stanford University now shows that this hope has no basis. Heart attack rates are actually as likely to rise as to fall in communities that impose smoking bans. Mortality and hospitalization rates are also unaffected by smoking bans. Surprisingly though, emergency room visits for asthma attacks do increase as people smoke more in homes and cars near sensitive nonsmokers, especially children, rather than in ventilated bars and restaurants. Please find this new study, Changes in U.S. Hospitalization and Mortality Rates Following Smoking Bans, attached to this e-mail.

Please also find attached studies by St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and University of Wisconsin economists which show that smoking bans do negatively impact the hospitality industry. Studies which find smoking bans do not harm businesses are almost always conducted public health people, not economists. When economist look at smoking bans, they find economic damage. Such economic damage from smoking bans is discussed by economist Dr. Jon Tomlin in a recent Forbes Magazine column. Testimony from economists such as Dr. Tomlin caused St. Louis to exempt bars and casinos from its recently passed smoking ban. I thought I would send this information along to your committees as you consider a smoking ban for Mississippi.


Bill Hannegan