Gender, risk perceptions, and smoking behavior
Among younger cohorts, the smoking rate of females has surpassed that of males in many western countries. This is a departure from the common observation that males engage more frequently in risky behaviors. The underlying reasons for gender differences in smoking behavior, and thus for the recent trends, are not well understood. Using a sample of 8,592 Swedish adolescents aged 15-18, this paper contributes to the literature by exploring gender differences in smoking risk perceptions and in the responses to the latter. The results show significant gender differences in the perception of smoking mortality risk and in the perception of the addictiveness of smoking. Girls perceive the mortality risk of smoking as significantly greater than boys do, but they also perceive the addictiveness of cigarettes as less. These results persist after controlling for a wide range of background characteristics, including smoking risk information sources. Moreover, the findings suggest that while smoking information from sources such as teachers, pals, and own search, affect smoking mortality perceptions in a significant and positive manner among boys, no such effects are obtained among girls. Finally, no evidence is found for gender differences in the effect of perceived risks of smoking on the probability of being a smoker.
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|Date of creation:||22 Aug 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Journal of Health Economics, 2008, pages 1299-1311.|
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