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Causal effect of early initiation on adolescent smoking patterns


  • M. Christopher Auld


A key concern in policy debates over youth smoking is whether preventing children from smoking will stop them from smoking as adults or merely defer initiation into smoking. This paper estimates determinants of smoking status in late adolescence viewing smoking at age 14 as an endogenous `treatment' on subsequent smoking. This approach disentangles causation from unobserved heterogeneity and allows addictiveness to vary across individuals. Exploiting large tax changes across time and across regions in Canada in the early 1990s, the estimated model suggests that smoking is highly addictive for the average youth but less so for youths who actually do initiate early or who are likely to be induced to initiate early at the margin. Thus, policies that deter initiation will reduce eventual smoking rates, but not by as large a magnitude as conventional econometric models might suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Christopher Auld, 2005. "Causal effect of early initiation on adolescent smoking patterns," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 709-734, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:38:y:2005:i:3:p:709-734

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Don & Mathios, Alan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and the transition from youth to adult smoking: Smoking initiation, cessation, and participation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 904-917, July.
    2. David Aristei & Luca Pieroni, 2009. "Addiction, social interactions and gender differences in cigarette consumption," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 245-272, August.
    3. Jensen, Robert & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2012. "Does staying in school (and not working) prevent teen smoking and drinking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 644-657.
    4. Sen Anindya & Ariizumi Hideki & Driambe Daciana, 2010. "Do Changes In Cigarette Taxes Impact Youth Smoking? Evidence from Canadian Provinces," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-25, August.
    5. Auld M. Christopher & Zarrabi Mahmood, 2015. "Long-Term Effects of Tobacco Prices Faced by Adolescents," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, January.
    6. Anindya Sen & Tony Wirjanto, 2010. "Estimating the impacts of cigarette taxes on youth smoking participation, initiation, and persistence: empirical evidence from Canada," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(11), pages 1264-1280.
    7. Christian Volpe Martincus & Jerónimo Carballo, 2010. "Entering new country and product markets: does export promotion help?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 437-467, September.
    8. Volpe Martincus, Christian & Carballo, Jerónimo, 2010. "Beyond the average effects: The distributional impacts of export promotion programs in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 201-214, July.
    9. Shantanu Bagchi & James Feigenbaum, 2014. "Is Smoking a Fiscal Good?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 170-190, January.
    10. Anindya Sen, 2009. "Estimating the impacts of household behavior on youth smoking: evidence from Ontario, Canada," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 189-218, June.
    11. 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.
    12. Steven M. Suranovic, 2005. "An Economic Model of Youth Smoking: Tax and Welfare Effects," HEW 0511003, EconWPA.
    13. Anirban Basu & James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano & Sergio Urzua, 2007. "Use of instrumental variables in the presence of heterogeneity and self-selection: an application to treatments of breast cancer patients," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(11), pages 1133-1157.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables


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