After Tobacco: What Would Happen If Americans Stopped Smoking?

Overview

States have banned smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. They have increased tobacco tax rates, extended "clean air" laws, and mounted dramatic antismoking campaigns. Yet tobacco use remains high among Americans, prompting many health professionals to seek bolder measures to reduce smoking rates, which has raised concerns about the social and economic consequences of these measures.

Retail and hospitality businesses worry smoking bans and excise taxes will reduce profit,...

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Overview

States have banned smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. They have increased tobacco tax rates, extended "clean air" laws, and mounted dramatic antismoking campaigns. Yet tobacco use remains high among Americans, prompting many health professionals to seek bolder measures to reduce smoking rates, which has raised concerns about the social and economic consequences of these measures.

Retail and hospitality businesses worry smoking bans and excise taxes will reduce profit, and with tobacco farming and cigarette manufacturing concentrated in southeastern states, policymakers fear the decline of regional economies. Such concerns are not necessarily unfounded, though until now, no comprehensive survey has responded to these beliefs by capturing the impact of tobacco control across the nation. This book, the result of research commissioned by Legacy and Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, considers the economic impact of reducing smoking rates on tobacco farmers, cigarette-factory workers, the southeastern regional economy, state governments, tobacco retailers, the hospitality industry, and nonprofit organizations that might benefit from the industry's philanthropy. It also measures the effect of smoking reduction on mortality rates, medical costs, and Social Security. Concluding essays consider the implications of more vigorous tobacco control policy for law enforcement, smokers who face social stigma, the mentally ill who may cope through tobacco, and disparities in health by race, social class, and gender.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Health Affairs

a welcome contribution to an important public health topic for students as well as policy makers.

Thomas E. Novotny

This collection dealing with the economic 'fallout' of a nonsmoking society provides a solid scientific basis for understanding just what would be the costs, benefits, and consequences if all the hard-fought interventions against smoking succeeded. This should be mandatory reading for policy makers and public health professionals who need to fully understand and communicate the benefits of a smoke-free society to those who remain skeptical about these benefits.

Allan M. Brandt

As these important essays so clearly show, if America became truly smoke free, the social, economic, and health consequences would be nothing short of profound. The essays collected here -- representing diverse disciplinary approaches -- point us toward the next critical phase of informed and effective tobacco control policies.

Steven A. Schroeder

What would happen if smoking rates plummeted because of more vigorous application of proven policies such as increasing the taxes on tobacco products and expanding the range of smoke-free locations? After Tobacco rigorously examines the potential impact of greatly decreased tobacco use on myriad sectors. It is an important resource for those interested in public policy, public health, government, economics, and health care.

Contemporary Sociology - Ross Koppel

...provides a full, scholarly, creative, interdisciplinary, and thoughtful analysis.

Library Journal
Optimistically assuming that state and federal legislators might take the time to read a collection of evidence-based essays on a single topic, Bearman (social sciences, Columbia Univ.), Kathryn M. Neckerman (research assoc., medicine, Univ. of Chicago), and Leslie Wright (former project coordinator, Ctr. of Excellence in Women's Health, Boston Univ.) present a look at the potential consequences of a substantial reduction of smoking in the United States. Three scenarios are considered: no policy changes, stricter interventions recommended by the Institute of Medicine, and more draconian measures. All of the researchers used the same simulation tool and the same format for the resulting essays, and each also includes a section on statistical methods clearly not intended for the casual reader. Studied for possible economic and social impact are tobacco farmers and those working in cigarette manufacturing as well as their surrounding communities, retailers, the hospitality industry, and tobacco company philanthropy. Contributors also consider the effect of increased longevity on health expenditures and the Social Security Trust Fund and potential disruptions for smokers with mental illness or addictions. VERDICT The expansive overview here is distinctive, while the work's technical nature makes it useful primarily for academic and government libraries serving policymakers. The antismoking lobby will also love it.—Dick Maxwell, Porter Adventist Hosp. Lib., Denver
Kirkus Reviews

Research studies of the effects of tougher U.S. anti-smoking policies.

While adult smoking has decreased by nearly half since 1965, many Americans continue to indulge, regardless of health risks or increased medical costs. This unique compilation of exhaustive, peer-reviewed research, funded by a grant from the American Legacy Foundation, measures the potential social and economic ramifications of a tobacco-free society created via stringent government policy. The authors employ the "SimSmoke" simulation model to project tobacco-control effects through four scenarios:the "baseline" or status quo, where policies do not change; the Institute of Medicine scenario, which, among other things, proposes a $2 per pack excise tax increase to discourage smoking; a "high impact scenario" to reduce smoking rates even more dramatically by mandates such as nicotine reduction in cigarettes; and a "100 percent" scenario, which assumes that smoking ceased in 2006. Readers without scientific inclinations will find the plethora of graphs, tables and equations cumbersome, but the accompanying discussions clearly cover issues such as the economic impact tougher policy will create on tobacco manufacturers and their employees and states like North Carolina, where the highest acreage of tobacco is grown. As with most scientific research, human suffering is reduced to neat statistics. Key findings conclude that, among others, a "small" number of stakeholders—57,000 tobacco farmers and employees, 16,600 cigarette manufacturing employees, 6,200 tobacco store owners and employees, and 29 tobacco dependent counties—could suffer significant losses, yet the authors suggest government assistance in lieu of economic independence. Despite its flaws, the study is noteworthy, as it urges careful thought before policy implementation and examines many social ramifications—inequity for the seriously mentally ill, who may not be able to quit, race and class disparities and stigmatization of smokers.

A provocative book worthy of a careful read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231157773
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,495,846
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Bearman is the Cole Professor of the Social Sciences, director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, and codirector of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program at Columbia University.

Kathryn M. Neckerman is a research associate in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago and former associate director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.

Leslie Wright is the former project coordinator for the Center of Excellence in Women's Health at Boston University School of Medicine and former assistant director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University.

Columbia University Press

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