But I didn’t account for the body odour, beer-induced- flatulence factor. According to The Age this morning (Tobacco ban blows ill wind as pubs scent new dilemma) some bar users regret the lost smell of tobacco in the air because patrons can now smell each other. Smoking they claim usefully masked this smell!
It’s a second-best problem – eliminating one distortion (the tobacco smoke externality) reveals another one that is even more offensive to patrons (human smells). It’s a bit like cleaning up pollution to reveal a more serious greenhouse gas problem – global dimming! Not quite a neat analogy however as these new smells don’t kill you.
But they do reduce the attraction of these venues. I guess there are co-ordination problems in trying to persuade patrons to take the occasional shower and quite a bit of stink will be endogenously generated by the beer and the dance floor.
Capitalism steps in to provide a solution.
‘The unforeseen side effects of the tobacco ban have spawned a range of new products about to be tested by the Victorian hospitality industry.
Instant RockStar director Margie Ardono said the company had smelt an ill wind and developed a scented gel that could be circulated through air-conditioning ducts.
"We have produced a product with tea-tree oil that has been tested by Monash University and proven to eliminate smells, while killing common bacteria" '
Apparently vanilla, rosemary, cinnamon, strawberry and banana are popular that help to overcome an array of unwanted aromas. Why am I so amused by all this?
* The economics of such bans are discussed in P.D. Jacobson & L.M. Zapawa ‘Clean Indoor Air Restrictions: Progress and Promise’ in R.L. Rabin & S.D. Sugarman (eds) Regulating Tobacco, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001. Generally the economics of bars in the US (California, Massacusetts and New York City) improved.