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Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Prices and Policies

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  • Jonathan Gruber

Abstract

After steadily declining over the previous 15 years, youth smoking began to rise precipitously in 1992, and by 1997 had risen by roughly one-third from its 1991 trough. We know very little about what caused this time trend and what public policy can do to reverse it. This paper therefore provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of prices and other public policies on youth smoking in the 1990s, drawing on three separate data sets. I find that the most important policy determinant of youth smoking, particularly among older teens, is prices. Prices are a significant and sizeable determinant of smoking by older teens in all tree data sets, although the estimated price elasticity varies significantly. On the other hand, price does not appear to be an important determinant of smoking by younger teens. There is little consistent evidence of robust effect of other public policies targeted to reducing youth smoking, although there is some suggestion that restrictions on youth purchase of cigarettes reduce the quantity of cigarettes reduce the quantity of cigarettes smoked. And I find that black youth and those with less educated parents are much more responsive to cigarette price than are white teens and those with more educated parents, suggesting a strong correlation between price sensitivity and socioeconomic status.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Prices and Policies," NBER Working Papers 7506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7506 Note: CH HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Blow & Andrew Leicester & Frank Windmeijer, 2005. "Parental income and children's smoking behaviour: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," IFS Working Papers W05/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Anger, Silke & Kvasnicka, Michael & Siedler, Thomas, 2011. "One Last Puff? Public Smoking Bans and Smoking Behavior," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 591-601.
    3. Ellen Meara, 2001. "Why is Health Related to Socioeconomic Status?," NBER Working Papers 8231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Aughinbaugh, Alison & Gittleman, Maury, 2004. "Maternal employment and adolescent risky behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 815-838, July.
    5. John P. Pierce & Todd P. Gilmer & Lora Lee & Elizabeth A. Gilpin & Joy de Beyer & Karen Messer, 2005. "Tobacco industry price-subsidizing promotions may overcome the downward pressure of higher prices on initiation of regular smoking," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(10), pages 1061-1071.
    6. Alexey Kalinin & Marina Kolosnitsyna & Liudmila Zasimova, 2011. "Healthy Lifestyles in Russia: Old Issues and New Policies," HSE Working papers WP BRP 02/PA/2011, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    7. Jeffrey D. Kubik & John R. Moran, 2001. "Can Policy Changes Be Treated as Natural Experiments? Evidence from State Excise Taxes," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 39, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    8. Hana Ross & Frank J. Chaloupka & Melanie Wakefield, 2006. "Youth Smoking Uptake Progress: Price and Public Policy Effects," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 355-367, Spring.
    9. Brett Katzman & Sara Markowitz & Kerry Anne McGeary, 2002. "The Impact of Lending, Borrowing, and Anti-Smoking Policies on Cigarette Consumption by Teens," NBER Working Papers 8844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Zasimova, Liudmila & Kossova, Elena & Ryazanova, Marina, 2014. "Understanding individual attitudes towards ban on smoking in public places," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 34(2), pages 95-119.
    11. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios & Yoon-Jeong Shin & Jae-Young Lim, 2008. "Youth smoking, cigarette prices, and anti-smoking sentiment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(6), pages 733-749.
    12. Christian Bantle & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2002. "Smoke Signals: The Intergenerational Transmission of Smoking Behavior," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 277, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Donna B. Gilleskie & Koleman S. Strumpf, 2000. "The Behavioral Dynamics of Youth Smoking," NBER Working Papers 7838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Ryo Nakajima, 2007. "Measuring Peer Effects on Youth Smoking Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 897-935.
    15. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2004. "Peer effects on substance use among American teenagers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 351-367, June.
    16. Jonathan Gruber & Jonathan Zinman, 2000. "Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Austan Goolsbee & Michael F. Lovenheim & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Playing with Fire: Cigarettes, Taxes, and Competition from the Internet," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 131-154, February.
    18. Henrik Hammar & Fredrik Carlsson, 2005. "Smokers' expectations to quit smoking," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(3), pages 257-267.
    19. Brett Katzman & Sara Markowitz & Kerry Anne McGeary, 2007. "An empirical investigation of the social market for cigarettes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(10), pages 1025-1039.
    20. John A. Tauras & Patrick M. O'Malley & Lloyd D. Johnston, 2001. "Effects of Price and Access Laws on Teenage Smoking Initiation: A National Longitudinal Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Steven M. Suranovic, 2005. "An Economic Model of Youth Smoking: Tax and Welfare Effects," HEW 0511003, EconWPA.
    22. Emery, Sherry & White, Martha M. & Pierce, John P., 2001. "Does cigarette price influence adolescent experimentation?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 261-270, March.
    23. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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