IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking: Evidence from recent large tax increases


  • DeCicca, Philip
  • McLeod, Logan


While recent evidence casts some doubt, it is generally accepted that the price sensitivity of smoking varies inversely with age. We investigate the responsiveness of older adult smoking using variation from recent historically large cigarette tax increases in the United States. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 2000 to 2005, we find consistent evidence that higher taxes reduced smoking participation by older adults, especially those who are less educated and live in low-income households. Our findings run contrary to existing evidence which suggests that cessation behavior by older adults is not sensitive to price. Since a large literature suggests smoking cessation even later in life reduces morbidity and increases longevity, our findings may represent substantial gains in health among tax-induced quitters.

Suggested Citation

  • DeCicca, Philip & McLeod, Logan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking: Evidence from recent large tax increases," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 918-929, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:918-929

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    2. Frank A. Sloan & Jan Ostermann & Christopher Conover & Donald H. Taylor, Jr. & Gabriel Picone, 2006. "The Price of Smoking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262693453, January.
    3. Matthew C. Farrelly & Jeremy W. Bray & Terry Pechacek & Trevor Woollery, 2001. "Response by Adults to Increases in Cigarette Prices by Sociodemographic Characteristics," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 156-165, July.
    4. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Wechsler, Henry, 1997. "Price, tobacco control policies and smoking among young adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 359-373, June.
    5. Lewit, Eugene M. & Coate, Douglas, 1982. "The potential for using excise taxes to reduce smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 121-145, August.
    6. Justin G. Trogdon & Frank A. Sloan, 2006. "Cigarette Taxes and the Master Settlement Agreement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(4), pages 729-739, October.
    7. Matthew C. Farrelly & William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1999. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 728-747, September.
    8. Lewit, Eugene M & Coate, Douglas & Grossman, Michael, 1981. "The Effects of Government Regulation on Teenage Smoking," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 545-569, December.
    9. V. Kerry Smith & Donald H. Taylor & Frank A. Sloan & F. Reed Johnson & William H. Desvousges, 2001. "Do Smokers Respond To Health Shocks?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 675-687, November.
    10. John A. Tauras, 2006. "Smoke-Free Air Laws, Cigarette Prices, and Adult Cigarette Demand," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(2), pages 333-342, April.
    11. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios, 2002. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 144-169, February.
    12. Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
    13. Jérôme Adda & Francesca Cornaglia, 2006. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption, and Smoking Intensity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1013-1028, September.
    14. Christopher Carpenter & Philip J. Cook, 2007. "Cigarette Taxes and Youth Smoking: New Evidence from National, State, & Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys," NBER Working Papers 13046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Wasserman, Jeffrey & Manning, Willard G. & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Winkler, John D., 1991. "The effects of excise taxes and regulations on cigarette smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 43-64, May.
    16. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
    17. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:6:990-996_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bishop, James, 2015. "Interacting effects of state cigarette taxes on smoking participation," MPRA Paper 66609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Adel Bosch and Steven F. Koch, 2014. "Using a Natural Experiment to Examine Tobacco Tax Regressivity," Working Papers 434, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    3. Ceren Ertan Yörük & Barş K. Yörük, 2016. "Do Minimum Legal Tobacco Purchase Age Laws Work?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 415-429, July.
    4. Leah K. Lakdawala & David Simon, 2016. "The Intergenerational Consequences of Tobacco Policy," Working papers 2016-27, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Jan Marcus, 2014. "Does Job Loss Make You Smoke and Gain Weight?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(324), pages 626-648, October.
    6. Zagorsky, Jay L. & Smith, Patricia K., 2009. "Does the U.S. Food Stamp Program contribute to adult weight gain?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 246-258, July.
    7. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Donald & Liu, Feng, 2013. "Excise tax avoidance: The case of state cigarette taxes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1130-1141.
    8. Sen, Anindya & Entezarkheir, Mahdiyeh & Wilson, Alan, 2010. "Obesity, smoking, and cigarette taxes: Evidence from the Canadian Community Health Surveys," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(2-3), pages 180-186, October.
    9. Sara Markowitz & E. Kathleen Adams & Patricia M. Dietz & Viji Kannan & Van T. Tong, 2013. "Tobacco Control Policies, Birth Outcomes, and Maternal Human Capital," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(2), pages 130-160.
    10. Line Bretteville-Jensen, Anne & Biørn, Erik & Selmer, Randi, 2011. "Quitting behaviour of cigarette smokers. Are there direct effects of a screening program?," Memorandum 07/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    11. Kevin Callison & Robert Kaestner, 2014. "Do Higher Tobacco Taxes Reduce Adult Smoking? New Evidence Of The Effect Of Recent Cigarette Tax Increases On Adult Smoking," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 155-172, January.
    12. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-015-9290-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Sara Markowitz & E. Kathleen Adams & Patricia M. Dietz & Viji Kannan & Van Tong, 2011. "Smoking Policies and Birth Outcomes: Estimates From a New Era," NBER Working Papers 17160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Johanna Catherine MacLean & Asia Sikora Kessler & Donald S. Kenkel, 2016. "Cigarette Taxes and Older Adult Smoking: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 424-438, April.
    15. David Simon, 2013. "Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Health? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes," Working papers 2013-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2015.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:918-929. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.