Thursday, August 14, 2008

City Tobacco the 17th Century

Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in Democracy in America on the Code of 1650 in New Haven (p. 44):
In their ardor to regulate, legislators sometimes stooped to consider matters unworthy of their august function. For instance, the previously mentioned code included a law prohibiting the use of tobacco. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that these bizarre and even tyrannical laws were not imposed from above but freely approved by the votes of all affected by them, or that their mores were even more austere and puritanical than their laws. In 1649, an association was formed in Boston for the solemn purpose of stamping out the worldy luxury of long hair.
If you like the theme of "we have no new problems, just our problems" then you'll want to read the Craig Depken archives on the Division of labour.

On the subject of smoking bans, Bloomington has one, Morgantown did not. I would render a guess that a regression of the effect of the smoking ban on the incidence of my inconveniences from smokers would reveal a negative correlation coefficient with a t-statistic of 0.12. For the non-nerds I'll restate this as: I rarely experienced anything more than a smidgeon of discomfort from nearby smokers in Morgantown, and the reduced prevelence in Bloomington cannot be distinguished from the random differences in experiences between the two cities.


Thomas said...

Speaking independently of the economic impact, I _love_ indoor smoking bans. I don't have to worry about smokiness at bars, Dana is happier because her allergies and athsma don't get aggravated, and my clothes don't smell like smoke when I come back home.

Matt E. Ryan said...

I love smoking bans as much as I'd love a $10 tax on every American that would go right into my bank account.