Youth Smoking Uptake Progress: Price and Public Policy Effects
The increases in smoking prevalence among U.S. youth during the 1990's, and the growing evidence that adolescents become regular smokers at earlier ages, have attracted significant attention from public health officials. Preventing experimental young smokers from becoming established smokers may be the most effective way of achieving a long run reductions in smoking in the whole population. The paper addresses the gaps in knowledge about the impact of tobacco control policies on youth smoking uptake by examining the differential effects of cigarette prices, Clean Indoor Air laws, youth access laws, and other socio-economic factors on smoking uptake among nationally representative sample of U.S. high school students. Five clearly defined uptake stage categories are developed in order to classify 16,815 survey participants. The results suggest that cigarette prices are negatively related to moving from lower to higher stages of smoking uptake and that higher prices have an increasing impact as an individualâ€™s risk of smoking uptake gets larger. Youth access laws are significantly and negatively associated with moving to higher stages of smoking uptake. The effect of these restrictions is strongest for students who completed, or almost completed their uptake process as these students are more dependent on commercial sources of cigarettes. Interrupting adolescents' progress on the smoking uptake continuum substantially reduces their probability of becoming daily, addicted smokers.
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