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The Determinants of Smoking Initiation - Empirical Evidence for Germany

  • Silja Göhlmann


This paper aims at analyzing the determinants of the decision to start smoking using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). The data used is a combination of retrospective information on the age individuals started smoking and,by tracing back these individuals within the panel structure up to the point they started smoking, information on characteristics at the age of smoking initiation. In contrast to other papers, it is possible to control for the environment at the time of smoking onset that might have influenced the decision to start. Moreover, never-smokers can be distinguished from ex-smokers. I estimate discrete, but also continuous time hazard models. Results indicate that young higher educated individuals are less likely to start, whereas the hazard of starting among older individuals is not affected by education. Furthermore, parental smoking during the whole childhood significantly increases the probability to start. Almost no significant effects are found regarding parental education, labor market status and living in a large city. Price effects could not be identified, because in Germany prices did not vary during the last decades up to 2002.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0027.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0027
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  1. Angel López Nicolás, 2002. "How important are tobacco prices in the propensity to start and quit smoking? An analysis of smoking histories from the Spanish National Health Survey," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 521-535.
  2. Martin Forster & Andrew Jones, 2000. "The role of tobacco taxes in starting and quitting smoking: duration analysis of British data," Working Papers 176chedp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  3. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1995. "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Smoking Among Young Adults," NBER Working Papers 5012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Madden, 2007. "Tobacco taxes and starting and quitting smoking: does the effect differ by education?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(5), pages 613-627.
  5. Decicca, P. & Kenkel, D. & Mathios, A., 2000. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce Youth Smoking," Papers 00-3, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
  6. Andrew M Jones, 1995. "A microeconometric analysis of smoking in the UK health and lifestyle survey," Working Papers 139chedp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  7. Douglas, Stratford & Hariharan, Govind, 1994. "The hazard of starting smoking: Estimates from a split population duration model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 213-230, July.
  8. Schmidt, Peter & Witte, Ann Dryden, 1989. "Predicting criminal recidivism using 'split population' survival time models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 141-159, January.
  9. Douglas, Stratford, 1998. "The Duration of the Smoking Habit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 49-64, January.
  10. Jonathan Gruber & Jonathan Zinman, 2000. "Youth Smoking in the U.S.: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jones, Andrew M, 1989. "A Double-Hurdle Model of Cigarette Consumption," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(1), pages 23-39, Jan.-Mar..
  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. 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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