Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Smoking and Society

Richard Florida on the geography of smoking:

Might smoking be related to states' broader social and psychological climates? To get at this, we looked at the relationship between smoking and a commonly used measure of subjective well-being or happiness developed by the Gallup Organization. Smoking is negatively associated with state happiness (with a correlation of -.71). Since these correlations only reflect associations between variables and not causality, it’s hard to say whether this reflects the fact that happier people smoke less or unhappier ones smoke more, or that both smoking and happiness levels reflect something else... Common sense would suggest that more affluent people smoke less and poorer ones would smoke more, but that’s not what the data indicate – at least when comparing states. State smoking levels are not related to state income levels or to Gross State Product per capita; the correlations for both are not statistically significant.

He concludes that prevalence of smoking has more to do with the types of work that people do.