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Education and Smoking: Were Vietnam War Draft Avoiders Also More Likely to Avoid Smoking?

  • Franque Grimard
  • Daniel Parent

We use the Vietnam War draft avoidance behavior documented by Card et Lemieux (2002) as a quasi-natural experiment to infer causation from education to smoking and find strong evidence that education, whether it be measured in years of completed schooling or in educational attainment categories, reduces the probability of smoking at the time of the interview, more particularly the probability of smoking regularly. Interestingly, however, while we find that more education substantially increases the probability of never smoking, our other main finding is suggestive that increased education has a limited impact on smoking cessation behavior. On the one hand there is little evidence that it helps to increase the probability of not smoking regularly at the time of the interview, conditional on having smoked regularly at any time. However, among former regular smokers, those with more education have significantly shorter smoking careers. Nous utilisons la propension des hommes nés aux États-Unis dans les années '40 à vouloir éviter d'être recrutés pour participer à la guerre du Vietnam en poursuivant leurs études post-secondaires, tel que documenté dans Card et Lemieux (2002), afin d'inférer le lien causal entre l'éducation et le tabagisme. Nos résultats indiquent que les individus ayant davantage d'éducation sont nettement moins susceptibles de fumer la cigarette au moment de l'entrevue, particulièrement en ce qui concerne le fait de fumer régulièrement. Toutefois, l'impact de l'éducation sur le fait de cesser de fumer semble plutôt modeste. D'une part, il n'y a pas d'évidence très forte à l'effet qu'une augmentation exogène de l'éducation accroisse la probabilité de ne pas fumer au moment de l'entrevue, conditionnellement au fait d'avoir fumé régulièrement à un moment donnée dans sa vie. D'autre part, parmi les anciens fumeurs réguliers, nous trouvons que le nombre d'années passées à fumer est moindre pour ceux qui ont davantage d'éducation.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2003s-44.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2003s-44
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