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Gender, risk perceptions, and smoking behavior

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Abstract

Among younger cohorts, the smoking rate of females has surpassed that of males in many western countries. This is a departure from the common observation that males engage more frequently in risky behaviors. The underlying reasons for gender differences in smoking behavior, and thus for the recent trends, are not well understood. Using a sample of 8,592 Swedish adolescents aged 15-18, this paper contributes to the literature by exploring gender differences in smoking risk perceptions and in the responses to the latter. The results show significant gender differences in the perception of smoking mortality risk and in the perception of the addictiveness of smoking. Girls perceive the mortality risk of smoking as significantly greater than boys do, but they also perceive the addictiveness of cigarettes as less. These results persist after controlling for a wide range of background characteristics, including smoking risk information sources. Moreover, the findings suggest that while smoking information from sources such as teachers, pals, and own search, affect smoking mortality perceptions in a significant and positive manner among boys, no such effects are obtained among girls. Finally, no evidence is found for gender differences in the effect of perceived risks of smoking on the probability of being a smoker.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI) in its series Working Papers with number 2007:5.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 22 Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics, 2008, pages 1299-1311.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:vtiwps:2007_005

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Postal: VTI, Transport Economics, P.O. Box 6056, SE-171 06 Solna, Sweden
Phone: +46-13-20 40 00
Fax: +46-13-14 14 36
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Web page: http://www.vti.se/tek
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Keywords: Gender; smoking; risk perceptions; information;

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References

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  1. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
  2. Fred C. Pampel, 2002. "Cigarette Use and the Narrowing Sex Differential in Mortality," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(1), pages 77-104.
  3. Petter Lundborg, 2007. "Smoking, information sources, and risk perceptions—New results on Swedish data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 217-240, June.
  4. Andersson, Henrik & Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Perception of Own Death Risk: An Analysis of Road-Traffic and Overall Mortality Risks," Working Papers 2006:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  5. Viscusi, W Kip, 1991. "Age Variations in Risk Perceptions and Smoking Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 577-88, November.
  6. Athanasios Orphanides & David Zervos, 1992. "Rational addiction with learning and regret," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 216, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Hersch, Joni, 2000. " Gender, Income Levels, and the Demand for Cigarettes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 263-82, November.
  8. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  9. David M. Cutler & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "Education and Health: Evaluating Theories and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 12352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Steven Yen, 2005. "Zero observations and gender differences in cigarette consumption," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(16), pages 1839-1849.
  11. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
  12. Antonanzas, Fernando, et al, 2000. " Smoking Risks in Spain: Part I--Perception of Risks to the Smoker," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(2-3), pages 161-86, November.
  13. Lundborg, Petter & Lindgren, Bjorn, 2002. " Risk Perceptions and Alcohol Consumption among Young People," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 165-83, September.
  14. Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Do Smokers Underestimate Risks?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1253-69, December.
  15. Petter Lundborg & Bj–rn Lindgren, 2004. "Do They Know What They are Doing? Risk Perceptions and Smoking Behaviour Among Swedish Teenagers," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 261-286, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Henrik Andersson & Petter Lundborg, 2007. "Perception of own death risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 67-84, February.
  2. David L. Dickinson & Scott R. Collier, 2012. "The Effects of Moderate Exercise on Bayesian Choices," Working Papers 12-06, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  3. Andersson, Henrik, 2008. "Perception of Own Death Risk: A Reassessment of Road-Traffic Mortality Risk," Working Papers 2008:11, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  4. Andersson, Henrik & Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Perception of Own Death Risk: An Analysis of Road-Traffic and Overall Mortality Risks," Working Papers 2006:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).

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