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Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?

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  • Philip DeCicca
  • Donald Kenkel
  • Alan Mathios

Abstract

This paper reexamines whether higher cigarette taxes will substantially reduce youth smoking. We study the impact of taxes during exactly the period in adolescence in which most smokers start their habits. We find weak or nonexistent tax effects in models of the onset of smoking between eighth and twelfth grades, models of the onset of heavy smoking between eighth and twelfth grades, and discrete-time hazard models that include state fixed effects. We also provide a new perspective on the relationship between smoking and schooling: students who eventually drop out of school are already more likely to smoke in the eighth grade.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:110:y:2002:i:1:p:144-169
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    1. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
    2. Saba, Richard P, et al, 1995. "The Demand for Cigarette Smuggling," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 189-202, April.
    3. William N. Evans & Matthew C. Farrelly, 1998. "The Compensating Behavior of Smokers: Taxes, Tar, and Nicotine," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 578-595, Autumn.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    5. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-742, August.
    6. 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.
    7. Douglas, Stratford & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "The hazard of starting smoking: Estimates from a split population duration model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 213-230, July.
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