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Smoking Bans, Maternal Smoking and Birth Outcomes

  • Bharadwaj, Prashant


    (University of California, San Diego)

  • Johnsen, Julian V.


    (University of Bergen)

  • Loken, Katrine Vellesen


    (University of Bergen)

An important externality of smoking is the harm it might cause to those who do not smoke. This paper examines the impact on birth outcomes of children of female workers who are affected by smoking bans in the workplace. Analyzing a 2004 law change in Norway that extended smoking restrictions to bars and restaurants, we find that children of female workers in restaurants and bars born after the law change saw significantly lower rates of being born below the very low birth weight (VLBW) threshold and were less likely to be born pre-term. Using detailed data on smoking status during pregnancy, we find that relative to the control group, most of the benefits arise from changes in smoking behavior of the mother; the effect of second hand smoke exposure on birth outcomes in this formulation appears to be quite small. However, we find suggestive evidence of substituting behavior, i.e. a greater likelihood of smoking at home among fathers, since children born to male workers in restaurants and bars after this law change appear to have slightly worse outcomes. Using individual tax data, we find that the law change did not result in changes in earnings or employment opportunities for those affected, thus suggesting that the effects seen are likely a direct result of changes in smoke exposure in utero. Using a twins based analysis, we link very low birth weight status to adult labor force participation and suggest that via the improvements in birth weight alone, the smoking restriction law in Norway could result in a 0.2 percentage point increase in full time employment by age 28.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7006.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2014, 115, 72-93
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7006
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  1. Silke Anger & Michael Kvasnicka & Thomas Siedler, 2010. "One Last Puff?: Public Smoking Bans and Smoking Behavior," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 289, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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  5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
  6. Diana S. Lien & William N. Evans, 2005. "Estimating the Impact of Large Cigarette Tax Hikes: The Case of Maternal Smoking and Infant Birth Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
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  13. Sargent, R P & Shepard, R M & Glantz, Stanton A. Ph.D., 2004. "Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban: before and after study," University of California at San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education qt3276d6r6, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco.
  14. Jérôme Adda & Francesca Cornaglia, 2009. "The effect of bans and taxes on passive smoking," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28679, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  16. Michael R. Pakko, 2005. "The economics of smoking bans: peering through the haze," The Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 12-13.
  17. Nguyen, Hai V., 2013. "Do smoke-free car laws work? Evidence from a quasi-experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 138-148.
  18. Adams Scott & Cotti Chad D., 2007. "The Effect of Smoking Bans on Bars and Restaurants: An Analysis of Changes in Employment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-34, February.
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  20. David Simon, 2013. "Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Health? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes," Working papers 2013-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised May 2015.
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