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Does New Health Information Affect Health Behavior? The Effect of Health Events on Smoking Cessation

  • Christian Bünnings


This paper investigates whether new health information aff ects smoking behavior. Interpreting three distinct categories of health events as different information, the paper also tests whether behavioral change depends on the type of information received. Based on retrospectively reported data on smoking behavior from the Swiss Household Panel, a linear probability model is applied to estimate the effects of three different health events on the decision to quit smoking. The empirical results yield robust evidence that smokers respond differently to health events that are due to different causes. Suffering from physical health problems increases the inclination to stop smoking, the opposite holds true for mental disorders, while accidents do not affect health behavior at all. Analyses of effect heterogeneity further reveal that the same type of information affects various subgroups of the population differently.

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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 0459.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0459
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  1. 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.
  2. Martin Forster & Andrew M. Jones, 2001. "The role of tobacco taxes in starting and quitting smoking: Duration analysis of British data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 164(3), pages 517-547.
  3. Leonie Sundmacher, 2012. "The effect of health shocks on smoking and obesity," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 451-460, August.
  4. 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.
  5. Douglas, Stratford, 1998. "The Duration of the Smoking Habit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 49-64, January.
  6. Jan Marcus, 2012. "Does Job Loss Make You Smoke and Gain Weight?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 432, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Ida, Takanori & Goto, Rei & Takahashi, Yuko & Nishimura, Shuzo, 2011. "Can economic-psychological parameters predict successful smoking cessation?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 285-295, May.
  8. Christopoulou, Rebekka & Lillard, Dean R., 2015. "Is smoking behavior culturally determined? Evidence from British immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 78-90.
  9. Bardsley, P. & Olekans, N., 1998. "Cigarette and Tobacco Consumption: Have Anti-Smoking Policies Made a Difference?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 615, The University of Melbourne.
  10. Smith, V. Kerry & Taylor, Donald H., Jr. & Sloan, Frank A. & Johnson, F. Reed & Desvousges, William H., 2000. "Do Smokers Respond to Health Shocks?," Working Papers 00-08, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  11. Hong Liu & Wei Tan, 2009. "The Effect of Anti-Smoking Media Campaign on Smoking Behavior: The California Experience," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 10(1), pages 29-47, May.
  12. Suranovic, Steven M. & Goldfarb, Robert S. & Leonard, Thomas C., 1999. "An economic theory of cigarette addiction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, January.
  13. Chee-Ruey Hsieh, 1998. "Health risk and the decision to quit smoking," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(6), pages 795-804.
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