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Toxic Choices: The Theory and Impact of Smoking Bans

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Listed:
  • Ian J. Irvine

    (Department of Economics, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

  • Van Hai Nguyen

    (Department of Economics, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Abstract

Smoking bans in the workplace and public places are now ubiquitous. While indices of such controls are commonly included in econometric models, there exists little theory that validates or analyzes them. This paper first proposes a theoretical model of maximizing behaviour on the part of smokers which serves as a vehicle to evaluate bans. It is a type of nicotine inventory management model where smoking during one phase of the day impacts utility in other periods. It also includes an intensity choice as part of the optimization. Calibrated model simulations suggest that, with the exception of heavy smokers, workplace bans have relatively minor impacts on smokers throughout most of the distribution due to substitution possibilities. We estimate quantile regressions using Canadian survey data for 2003 and .find that workplace bans have a surprisingly small impact on the number of cigarettes smoked. However, restrictions on smoking in the home are found to be of an order of importance greater, even when instrumented. The policy conclusion is that the effectiveness of workplace bans depends heavily upon whether there exist complementary restrictions on smoking in environments to which individuals may wish to switch their smoking following a workplace ban.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian J. Irvine & Van Hai Nguyen, 2009. "Toxic Choices: The Theory and Impact of Smoking Bans," Working Papers 200951, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:200951
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2004. "Addiction and Cue-Triggered Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1558-1590, December.
    4. Gruber, Jonathan & Koszegi, Botond, 2004. "Tax incidence when individuals are time-inconsistent: the case of cigarette excise taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1959-1987, August.
    5. William N. Evans & Matthew C. Farrelly, 1998. "The Compensating Behavior of Smokers: Taxes, Tar, and Nicotine," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 578-595, Autumn.
    6. Matthew C. Farrelly & William N. Evans & Edward Montgomery, 1999. "Do Workplace Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 728-747, September.
    7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nguyen, Hai V., 2013. "Do smoke-free car laws work? Evidence from a quasi-experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 138-148.
    2. Ian Irvine & William Sims, 2012. "A Taxing Dilemma: Assessing the Impact of Tax and Price Changes on the Tobacco Market," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 350, May.
    3. repec:pal:easeco:v:45:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1057_s41302-019-00139-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Origo Federica & Lucifora Claudio, 2013. "The Effect of Comprehensive Smoking Bans in European Workplaces," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 1-27, March.
    5. Michael T. Owyang & E. Katarina Vermann, 2012. "Where there’s a smoking ban, there’s still fire," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue July, pages 265-286.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Smoking bans; tobacco; nicotine; cotinine; intensity; quantile regression;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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