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