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The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity

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  • Charles L. Baum

    (Economics Graduate Program, Economics and Finance Department, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, USA)

Abstract

About 30% of Americans are currently obese, which is roughly a 100% increase from 25 years ago. Public health officials have consequently become alarmed because recent research indicates that societal costs of obesity now exceed those of cigarette smoking and alcoholism. Cigarette taxes may have exacerbated the prevalence of obesity. In 1964, the US Surgeon General issued its first report relating smoking and health, and since that time, federal and state governments have increased cigarette taxes in a successful effort to reduce cigarette smoking. However, because cigarette smoking and obesity seem inversely related, cigarette taxes may have simultaneously increased obesity. This paper examines the effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity and finds that they have significant positive effects. This paper attempts to reconcile conflicting evidence in the literature by controlling more carefully for correlation with state-specific time trends using panel data. Results indicate that the net benefit to society of increasing cigarette taxes may not be as large as previously thought, though this research in no way concludes that they should be decreased to prompt weight loss. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles L. Baum, 2009. "The effects of cigarette costs on BMI and obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 3-19.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:1:p:3-19
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1340
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1340
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico A.Todeschini & José María Labeaga & Sergi Jiménez Martín, 2010. "Killing by lung cancer or by diabetes? The trade-off between smoking and obesity," Working Papers 2010-16, FEDEA.
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    7. Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2012. "Smoking habit changes and body weight: causal estimates from the British Household Panel Survey," MPRA Paper 43465, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2015. "Adjusting body mass for measurement error with invalid validation data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 275-293.
    9. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2009. "The timing of the rise in U.S. obesity varies with measure of fatness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 307-318, December.
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