Now that smoking has been banned in public places in the UK since 2007, is there any evidence at all that this has been a success for Pub…
Answer by Michael J. McFadden:
I examined this question fairly extensively for both the US and the UK in one of the longest chapters of my TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame (2013). I examined heart attack rates and admissions since that area of Public Health is the area that Antismokers have generally claimed as showing the strongest immediate impact from bans.
Here are several graphs, with commentary, that I used in that chapter (with much gratitude to Christopher Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Antismoking (2009).
First a graph from a study designed and carried out by Dr. Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group, which showed what she claimed was a clear drop of over a thousand heart attack admissions in England in the year following their ban:
ENGLISH HEART ATTACK RATES: PRE & POST BAN
If you have a little difficulty in seeing the clear effect of the ban, Mr. Snowdon took the basic data and applied standard statistical smoothing to it for more clarity:
ENGLISH HEART ATTACK HOSP. ADMISSIONS: PRE & POST BAN
Strangely, I am not overly impressed with any evidence of a drastic drop in heart attacks produced by the very sudden and wide-ranging smoking ban in England. Are you?
Oddly enough, although British Antismokers felt that they DID see a clear drop in heart attacks, they felt that the data on pub closures after the ban showed "no discernible effect" from the law:
ENGLISH PUB CLOSURES: PRE & POST BAN
Strangely again, my interpretation would differ. Even without my eyeglasses I believe I can see a "discernible effect" in the number of pub closures after the ban came in. Look closely: what do YOU think? And how well does the clarity of pub closures (which UK Antismokers claim hasn't been a problem) compare with the clarity of heart attack decreases (which UK Antismokers claim are clear and undeniable).
Do you begin to see a problem here?
These graphs and other figures are documented and discussed extensively in both my book and in various entries at Mr. Snowdon's excellent blog at the external link:and I'd highly recommend a few hours reading there for any who are interested.