After Tobacco: What Would Happen If Americans Stopped Smoking? (Paperback)

What Would Happen If Americans Stopped Smoking?

By Peter Bearman (Editor), Kathryn Neckerman (Editor), Leslie Wright (Editor)

Columbia University Press, 9780231157773, 446pp.

Publication Date: August 31, 2011



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.

About the Author

Peter Bearman (Ph.D. Harvard University) is the Jonathan R. Cole Professor of the Social Sciences, Director of INCITE, Director of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences, and the Director of the Mellon Training Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Columbia University, the Centennial Professor of Methodology and Sociology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Doormen (Chicago, 2005) and the co-editor of The Middle Range Series for Columbia University Press.