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Have recreational marijuana laws undermined public health progress on adult tobacco use?

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  • Dave, Dhaval
  • Liang, Yang
  • Pesko, Michael F.
  • Phillips, Serena
  • Sabia, Joseph J.

Abstract

Public health experts caution that legalization of recreational marijuana may normalize smoking and undermine the decades-long achievements of tobacco control policy. However, very little is known about the impact of recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) on adult tobacco use. Using newly available data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) and dynamic difference-in-differences and discrete-time hazard approaches, we find that RML adoption increases prior-month marijuana use among adults ages 18-and-older by 2-percentage-points, driven by an increase in marijuana initiation among prior non-users. However, this increase in adult marijuana use does not extend to tobacco use. Rather, we find that RML adoption is associated with a lagged reduction in electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use, consistent with the hypothesis that ENDS and marijuana are substitutes. Moreover, auxiliary analyses from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that RML adoption is associated with a reduction in adult cigarette smoking. We conclude that RMLs may generate tobacco-related health benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Dave, Dhaval & Liang, Yang & Pesko, Michael F. & Phillips, Serena & Sabia, Joseph J., 2023. "Have recreational marijuana laws undermined public health progress on adult tobacco use?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:90:y:2023:i:c:s0167629623000334
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2023.102756
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    Cited by:

    1. Borbely, Daniel & Lenhart, Otto & Norris, Jonathan & Romiti, Agnese, 2022. "Marijuana Legalization and Mental Health," IZA Discussion Papers 15729, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Courtemanche, Charles & Jones, Jordan & Koumpias, Antonios M. & Zapata, Daniela, 2022. "Revisiting the Connection between State Medicaid Expansions and Adult Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 15803, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Recreational marijuana laws; Tobacco use; Cigarettes; Electronic cigarettes; Dynamic difference-in-differences; Discrete-time hazard models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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