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Do Higher Cigarette Prices Encourage Youth to Use Marijuana?

  • Frank J. Chaloupka
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
  • Matthew C. Farrelly
  • Lloyd D. Johnston
  • Patrick M. O'Malley

Every major national tobacco legislation proposed in the past two years has called for significant increases in the price of cigarettes as a way to discourage youths from smoking. One argument used to oppose these bills is that increases in the price of cigarettes would cause youths to substitute marijuana for cigarettes. Although it has long been believed that cigarettes are a gateway drug,' no economic research has been done to determine whether cigarettes and marijuana are economic complements or substitutes. This paper begins to fill the void in the current research by examining the contemporaneous relationship between the demands for cigarettes and marijuana among a nationally representative sample of 8th, 10th and 12th graders from the 1992-1994 Monitoring the Future Project. Two part models are used to estimate reduced form demand equations. Examination of the cross-price effects clearly shows that higher cigarette prices will not increase marijuana use among youths. In addition to reducing youth smoking, we find that higher cigarette prices significantly reduce the average level of marijuana used by current users. Cigarette prices also have a negative effect on the probability of using marijuana findings are not significant at conventional levels.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6939.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6939.

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Date of creation: Feb 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6939
Note: HE
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  1. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, 1998. "Does increasing the beer tax reduce marijuana consumption?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 557-585, October.
  2. DiNardo, John & Lemieux, Thomas, 2001. "Alcohol, marijuana, and American youth: the unintended consequences of government regulation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 991-1010, November.
  3. Frank J. Chaloupka & Michael Grossman, 1996. "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Youth Smoking," NBER Working Papers 5740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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