Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2009

Sin Industry Goes to Hell

It's an article of faith that when the economy slumps people take refuge in vices like drinking, gambling and smoking. But these industries have been hit hard in the downturn. Drinking is a good example. During the 2001 recession, state tax collections from alcohol sales rose by 1.5%, as you might expect. Yet this year they will fall more than 5%, says Ernest Gross, professor of economics at Creighton University. This could be another front in the health movement — or the realization that booze (and gambling and smoking) is expensive and unnecessary.