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Cigarette Taxes and Youth Smoking: New Evidence from National, State, & Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys

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  • Christopher Carpenter
  • Philip J. Cook

Abstract

Several studies have examined the effects of state cigarette tax increases on youth substance use over the 1990s, with most -- but not all -- finding that higher taxes reduce youth consumption of tobacco. We advance the literature by using data from the 1991-2005 waves of the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS), providing information on over 100,000 high school age youths. We also are the first to make use of hundreds of independently fielded state and local versions of the YRBS, reflecting data from over 750,000 youths. Importantly, these data are to our knowledge the only sources of relevant information on youth smoking that were explicitly designed to be representative of the sampled state or locality. We estimate two-way fixed effects models of the effect of state cigarette taxes on youth smoking, controlling for survey demographics and area and year fixed effects. Our most consistent finding is that -- contrary to some recent research -- the large state tobacco tax increases of the past 15 years were associated with significant reductions in smoking participation and frequent smoking by youths. Our price elasticity estimates for smoking participation by high school youths are generally smaller than previous cross-sectional approaches but are similar to recent quasi-experimental estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Carpenter & Philip J. Cook, 2007. "Cigarette Taxes and Youth Smoking: New Evidence from National, State, & Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys," NBER Working Papers 13046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13046
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hansen, Benjamin & Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2011. "Cigarette Taxes and the Social Market," IZA Discussion Papers 5580, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Carpenter, Christopher S. & Stehr, Mark, 2008. "The effects of mandatory seatbelt laws on seatbelt use, motor vehicle fatalities, and crash-related injuries among youths," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 642-662, May.
    3. Jason M. Fletcher & David Frisvold & Nathan Tefft, 2010. "Can Soft Drink Taxes Reduce Population Weight?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 23-35, January.
    4. Michael S Sharbaugh & Andrew D Althouse & Floyd W Thoma & Joon S Lee & Vincent M Figueredo & Suresh R Mulukutla, 2018. "Impact of cigarette taxes on smoking prevalence from 2001-2015: A report using the Behavioral and Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(9), pages 1-10, September.
    5. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Don & Mathios, Alan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and the transition from youth to adult smoking: Smoking initiation, cessation, and participation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 904-917, July.
    6. DeCicca, Philip & McLeod, Logan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking: Evidence from recent large tax increases," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 918-929, July.

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