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Obesity, Cigarette Prices, Youth Access Laws, and Adolescent Smoking Initiation


  • John Cawley

    () (Cornell University

  • Sara Markowitz

    (Rutgers University

  • John Tauras

    (University of Illinois at Chicago


This paper examines the role of body weight in smoking initiation by adolescents. We estimate discrete-time hazard models of the decision to initiate smoking using data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 Cohort. We control for cigarette prices, tobacco control policies and socioeconomic factors. To avoid problems stemming from the endogeneity of body weight, we also estimate models using the method of instrumental variables. We find clear gender differences. Lighter girls are less likely to initiate smoking, while current weight is uncorrelated with initiation among boys. Among girls, smoking initiation is insensitive to cigarette prices, but among boys smoking initiation is negatively correlated with cigarette prices. These gender-specific differences may help explain the mixed evidence of the impact of price on smoking initiation found in previous literature.

Suggested Citation

  • John Cawley & Sara Markowitz & John Tauras, 2006. "Obesity, Cigarette Prices, Youth Access Laws, and Adolescent Smoking Initiation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 149-170, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:32:y:2006:i:1:p:149-170

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cawley, John & Markowitz, Sara & Tauras, John, 2004. "Lighting up and slimming down: the effects of body weight and cigarette prices on adolescent smoking initiation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 293-311, March.
    2. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    3. Martin Forster & Andrew M. Jones, 2001. "The role of tobacco taxes in starting and quitting smoking: Duration analysis of British data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(3), pages 517-547.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:9:1486-1489_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Martin Forster & Andrew M. Jones, "undated". "The role of tobacco taxes in starting and quitting smoking," Discussion Papers 00/51, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Donald & Mathios, Alan, 2000. "Putting Out The Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce Youth Smoking?," Working Papers 00-3, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. G. Guindon, 2014. "The impact of tobacco prices on smoking onset in Vietnam: duration analyses of retrospective data," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(1), pages 19-39, January.
    2. Cawley, John & von Hinke Kessler Scholder, Stephanie, 2013. "The Demand for Cigarettes as Derived from the Demand for Weight Control," IZA Discussion Papers 7213, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Aliaksandr Amialchuk & Kateryna Bornukova & Mir M. Ali, 2012. "Smoking and Obesity Revisited: Evidence from Belarus," BEROC Working Paper Series 19, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC).
    4. Deliana Kostova & Frank Chaloupka & Ce Shang, 2015. "A duration analysis of the role of cigarette prices on smoking initiation and cessation in developing countries," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(3), pages 279-288, April.
    5. Fang, Hai & Ali, Mir M. & Rizzo, John A., 2009. "Does smoking affect body weight and obesity in China?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 334-350, December.

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