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The Effects of Smoking in Young Adulthood on Smoking and Health Later in Life: Evidence Based on the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery


  • Daniel Eisenberg
  • Brian Rowe


An important, unresolved question for health policymakers and consumers is whether cigarette smoking in young adulthood has significant lasting effects into later adulthood. The Vietnam era draft lottery offers an opportunity to address this question, because it randomly assigned young men to be more likely to experience conditions favoring cigarette consumption, including highly subsidized prices. Using this natural experiment, we find that military service increased the probability of smoking by 35 percentage points as of 1978-80, when men in the relevant cohorts were aged 25-30, but later in adulthood this effect was substantially attenuated and did not lead to large negative health effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Eisenberg & Brian Rowe, 2008. "The Effects of Smoking in Young Adulthood on Smoking and Health Later in Life: Evidence Based on the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 08-35, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:08-35

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carlos Dobkin & Reza Shabani, 2009. "The Health Effects Of Military Service: Evidence From The Vietnam Draft," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 69-80, January.
    2. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-742, August.
    3. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
    4. Anderson, T W & Kunitomo, Naoto & Sawa, Takamitsu, 1982. "Evaluation of the Distribution Function of the Limited Information Maximum Likelihood Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1009-1027, July.
    5. Grimard, Franque & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Education and smoking: Were Vietnam war draft avoiders also more likely to avoid smoking?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 896-926, September.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:1:96-102_7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
    8. Glied, Sherry, 2002. "Youth tobacco control: reconciling theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 117-135, January.
    9. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2000:90:8:1311-1314_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. de Walque, Damien, 2007. "Does education affect smoking behaviors?: Evidence using the Vietnam draft as an instrument for college education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 877-895, September.
    11. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:3:412-416_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Donald S. Kenkel & Dean R. Lillard & Alan D. Mathios, 2004. "Accounting for misclassification error in retrospective smoking data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 1031-1044.
    13. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen, 2007. "Long-term consequences of vietnam-era conscription: schooling, experience, and earnings," NBER Working Papers 13411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Angrist, Joshua D. & Chen, Stacey H. & Frandsen, Brigham R., 2010. "Did Vietnam veterans get sicker in the 1990s? The complicated effects of military service on self-reported health," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 824-837, December.

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    cigarette smoking; addiction; military service;


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