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Obesity and smoking: can we catch two birds with one tax?

  • D. Dragone
  • F. Manaresi
  • L. Savorelli

The debate on tobacco taxes and fat taxes often treats smoking and eating as independent behaviors. However, since there exists medical and sociological evidence about the interdependence between eating and smoking choices, antismoking policies may also affect the obesity prevalence and fat taxes could influence smoking behavior. We address this issue from a theoretical standpoint and propose a dynamic rational model where eating and smoking are simultaneous choices that jointly affect body weight and addiction to smoking. Focusing on direct and cross price effects, we compare tobacco taxes and fat taxes and we show that a single policy tool can reduce both smoking and body weight. In particular, fat taxes can be more effective than tobacco taxes at simultaneously fighting obesity and smoking.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp873.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp873
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  1. Courtemanche, Charles, 2009. "Rising cigarette prices and rising obesity: Coincidence or unintended consequence?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 781-798, July.
  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. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Review of Zoltan J. Acs and Alan Lyles's Obesity, Business and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 974-82, December.
  4. Wehby, George L. & Courtemanche, Charles J., 2012. "The heterogeneity of the cigarette price effect on body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 719-729.
  5. Mikael Bask & Maria Melkersson, 2004. "Rationally addicted to drinking and smoking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 373-381.
  6. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.
  8. John Cawley & Sara Markowitz & John Tauras, 2003. "Lighting Up and Slimming Down: The Effects of Body Weight and Cigarette Prices on Adolescent Smoking Initiation," NBER Working Papers 9561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dragone, Davide & Savorelli, Luca, 2012. "Thinness and obesity: A model of food consumption, health concerns, and social pressure," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 243-256.
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  14. Dragone, Davide, 2009. "A rational eating model of binges, diets and obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 799-804, July.
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  19. Matthew C. Farrelly & William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1999. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 728-747, September.
  20. D. Dragone & F. Manaresi & L. Savorelli, 2013. "Tobacco Taxes and Smoking Bans Impact Differently on Obesity and Eating Habits," Working Papers wp878, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  21. Gruber, Jonathan & Frakes, Michael, 2006. "Does falling smoking lead to rising obesity?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 183-197, March.
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  23. Gospodinov, Nikolay & Irvine, Ian, 2009. "Tobacco taxes and regressivity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 375-384, March.
  24. Dockner, Engelbert J & Feichtinger, Gustav, 1993. "Cyclical Consumption Patterns and Rational Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 256-63, March.
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