Public Sentiment and Tobacco Control Policy
The well-documented correlation between cigarette excise taxes and cigarette demand may not be entirely causal if excise taxes reflect public sentiment towards smoking. I consider whether proxies for smoking sentiment--the prevalence of smoking by education and intention to quit statuses--are correlated with support for and implementation of tobacco control laws. I find that cigarette excise taxes are most sensitive to the prevalence of educated smokers who do not want to quit. Additionally, when proxies for public sentiment are included, the estimated elasticity of cigarette demand declines from -2.0 to -1.3.
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