Thursday, 23 February 2012

What counts as research

The bar ain't high, if you're in the right field.

Now out in Tobacco Control, impact factor 3.077 (Comparable to Economic Inquiry), a New Zealand study where 13 young adults were interviewed about their smoking habits. The authors then call for a ban on smoking outside of bars on the basis of interviews with these thirteen subjects.
They frequently expressed disgust and remorse at how they felt after binge smoking and drinking, and nearly all saw smoking and drinking as activities that went together.
"Because alcohol plays such a pivotal role in facilitating social smoking, extending smoke-free areas to the outside of bars would decouple drinking from smoking in this environment," the study said.
Such a policy would create a physical barrier that, for some, would make getting to the smoking zone too difficult.
Nearly all participants supported the proposal, and agreed it would lead them to reduce or cease smoking, the study said.
I'm in the wrong field. And the Otago Medical School Public Health Department's press office ought to get some PR award for being most consistently able to sell this kind of thing to the press as having policy significance.

Next time I'm at the bar, I'll interview 13 selected smoking drinkers about what they think ought to be done to the folks who would ban them from smoking and drinking. I don't think the results would be publishable. But they could form the basis for policy improvements.

See also Simon Clarke.


  1. Replies
    1. Right when it's a critique of how planners see the world; that which people are doing ought have a presumptive efficiency to it. Wrong if critique of critiques of policy; I just can't follow Wittman in holding existing political outcomes as presumptively optimal. Voter incentives are too weak, monitoring too poor...