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Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Welfare? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes


  • David Simon


Evidence suggests that excise taxes on tobacco improve fetal health. However, it remains unknown if smoke exposure in early life causes lasting harm to children. I find that in utero exposure to a dollar increase in the state cigarette tax causes a 10 percent decrease in sick days from school and a 4.7 percent decrease in having two or more doctor visits. I present additional evidence for decreases in hospitalizations and asthma. This supports the hypothesis that exposure to cigarette smoke in utero and infancy carries significant medium-term costs, and that excise taxes can lead to lasting intergenerational improvements in well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • David Simon, 2016. "Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Welfare? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 128-159, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:128-59
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150476

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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2018. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1360-1446, December.
    2. Kurt Schmidheiny & Sebastian Siegloch, 2019. "On Event Study Designs and Distributed-Lag Models: Equivalence, Generalization and Practical Implications," CESifo Working Paper Series 7481, CESifo.
    3. Blesse, Sebastian & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Rauch, Anna, 2019. "Higher taxes on less elastic goods? Evidence from German municipalities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 165-186.
    4. Ricardo Goncalves & Peter J. Simmons & Yuanyuan Xie, 2017. "Rebel with(out) a cause? Inter-generational smoking dependence in Chinese households," Discussion Papers 17/20, Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. Michele Baggio & Alberto Chong & Sungoh Kwon, 2020. "Marijuana and alcohol: Evidence using border analysis and retail sales data," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(2), pages 563-591, May.
    6. Görlitz, Katja & Tamm, Marcus, 2020. "Parenthood and smoking," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    7. Vinish Shrestha, 2019. "Cigarette Prices and Driving Fatalities Among Youths," Working Papers 2019-02, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2019.
    8. Goldbach, Stefan & Nagengast, Arne J. & Steinmüller, Elias & Wamser, Georg, 2019. "The effect of investing abroad on investment at home: On the role of technology, tax savings, and internal capital markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 58-73.
    9. Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2018. "Do Higher Corporate Taxes Reduce Wages? Micro Evidence from Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 393-418, February.
    10. Settele, Sonja & Ewijk, Reyn van, 2018. "Can cigarette taxes during pregnancy mitigate the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 130-148.
    11. Sonja Settele & Reyn van Ewijk, 2017. "The effect of cigarette taxes during pregnancy on educational outcomes of the next generation," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201703, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    12. Chen, Xi & Yan, Binjian & Gill, Thomas M., 2020. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the United States," GLO Discussion Paper Series 594, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    13. Yamamura, Eiji, 2020. "Long term impact of parents’ smoking on their children’s health: Childhood circumstances and adult outcomes," MPRA Paper 99167, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Zhuang Hao & Benjamin W. Cowan, 2019. "The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 97-125, Winter.
    15. Christopher Carpenter & Dario Sansone, 2020. "Cigarette Taxes and Smoking Among Sexual Minority Adults," NBER Working Papers 26692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Zachary S. Fone & Joseph J. Sabia & Resul Cesur, 2019. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Reduce Crime?," NBER Working Papers 25647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Friedson, Andrew I. & Rees, Daniel I., 2020. "Cigarette Taxes and Smoking in the Long Run," IZA Discussion Papers 13252, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Iva Tomic, 2020. "Employment protection reforms and labour market outcomes in the aftermath of the recession: Evidence from Croatia," Public Sector Economics, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 44(1), pages 3-39.
    19. McGeary, Kerry Anne & Dave, Dhaval M. & Lipton, Brandy & Roeper, Timothy, 2019. "Impact of Comprehensive Smoking Bans on the Health of Infants and Children: Evidence from the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 12194, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Shrestha, Vinish, 2019. "Cigarette prices and driving fatalities among youths," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    21. Carrieri, Vincenzo & Jones, Andrew M., 2018. "Intergenerational transmission of nicotine within families: Have e-cigarettes influenced passive smoking?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 83-93.
    22. Zhuang Hao & Benjamin W. Cowan, 2017. "The Effects of Graduation Requirements on Risky Health Behaviors of High School Students," NBER Working Papers 23803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Xi Chen & Binjian Yan & Thomas M. Gill, 0. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the USA," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-28.
    24. Schmidheiny, Kurt & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2020. "On event studies and distributed-lags in two-way fixed effects models: Identification, equivalence, and generalization," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-017, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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