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The Heterogeneity of the Cigarette Price Effect on Body Mass Index

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  • George Wehby
  • Charles J. Courtemanche

Abstract

Previous studies estimate the average effect of cigarette price on body mass index (BMI), with recent research showing that their different methodologies all point to a negative effect after several years. This literature, however, ignores the possibility that the effect could vary throughout the BMI distribution or across socioeconomic and demographic groups due to differences in underlying preferences for health or risks for obesity. We evaluate heterogeneity in the long-run impact of cigarette price on BMI by performing quantile regressions and stratifying the sample by race, education, age, and sex. Cigarette price has a highly heterogeneous negative effect that is more than three times as strong at high BMI levels - where weight loss is most beneficial for health - than at low levels. The effects are also strongest for blacks, college graduates, middle-aged adults, and women. We also assess the implications for disparities, conduct robustness checks, and evaluate potential mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • George Wehby & Charles J. Courtemanche, 2012. "The Heterogeneity of the Cigarette Price Effect on Body Mass Index," NBER Working Papers 18087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18087
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    Cited by:

    1. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2018. "Smoking, Obesity, and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 18023, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. D. Dragone & F. Manaresi & L. Savorelli, 2013. "Tobacco Taxes and Smoking Bans Impact Differently on Obesity and Eating Habits," Working Papers wp878, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Celidoni, Martina & Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2014. "Side-effects of anti-smoking policies on health behaviors. Evidence from the US," MPRA Paper 58312, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. D. Dragone & F. Manaresi & L. Savorelli, 2013. "Obesity and smoking: can we catch two birds with one tax?," Working Papers wp873, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:31-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Ukert, Benjamin, 2018. "The effect of smoking on obesity: Evidence from a randomized trial," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-44.
    7. Charles J. Courtemanche & Joshua C. Pinkston & Christopher J. Ruhm & George L. Wehby, 2016. "Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1266-1310, April.
    8. George Wehby & Allen Wilcox & Rolv Lie, 2013. "The impact of cigarette quitting during pregnancy on other prenatal health behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 211-233, June.
    9. repec:pal:easeco:v:44:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1057_s41302-016-0071-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kvasnicka, Michael & Siedler, Thomas & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2018. "The Health Effects of Smoking Bans: Evidence from German Hospitalization Data," IZA Discussion Papers 11631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Joshua C. Hall & Brad R. Humphreys & Jane E. Ruseski, 2015. "Economic Freedom and Participation in Physical Activity," Working Papers 15-17, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

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    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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