Banning smoking in bars and restaurants can cut down not only on tobacco-related illnesses but also on alcohol abuse, according to a study by Yale researchers.
Using data from a national alcohol survey, the Yale researchers compared remission rates of individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in states that enacted smoking bans in establishments that serve alcohol with rates in states without such bans. In the states where smoking bans were in effect, there was an 11 percent increase in remission of AUD. States with public drinking bans also had a lower rate of new cases of AUD—7 percent versus 11 percent in states without bans. These changes seemed to be most pronounced in men and young people as well as in smokers.
“We wanted to see if separating smoking and drinking in public drinking venues changed drinking behavior,” said Sherry McKee, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study published in September in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. “It does.”