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Do cigarette taxes affect children's body mass index? The effect of household environment on health

  • Jennifer M. Mellor

Several recent studies demonstrate a positive effect of cigarette prices and taxes on obesity among adults, especially those who smoke. If higher cigarette costs affect smokers' weights by increasing calories consumed or increasing food expenditures, then cigarette taxes and prices may also affect obesity in children of smokers. This study examines the link between child body mass index (BMI) and obesity status and cigarette costs using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-79 (NLSY79). Controlling for various child, mother, and household characteristics as well as child‐fixed effects, I find that cigarette taxes and prices increase BMI in the children of smoking mothers. Interestingly, and unlike previous research findings for adults, higher cigarette taxes do not increase the likelihood of obesity in children. These findings are consistent with a causal mechanism in which higher cigarette costs reduce smoking and increase food expenditures and consumption in the household. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1598
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 417-431

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:20:y:2011:i:4:p:417-431
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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