Unravelling the influence of smoking initiation and cessation on premature mortality using a common latent factor model
Duration models for lifespan and smoking, that focus on the socio-economic gradient in smoking durations and length of life, are estimated controlling for individual-specific unobservable heterogeneity by means of a latent factor model. The latent factor influences the risk of starting and quitting smoking as well as the hazard of mortality. Frailty could in°uence smoking behaviour through two mechanisms: the effect of life expectancy on initiation of smok- ing and the impact of adverse health events on quitting. Our findings suggest that individual-specific preference for experimentation, which leads those peo- ple who start smoking soonest to quit early, is a potential source of spurious correlation between smoking durations. They also suggest that frailty acts according to both mechanisms, driving selection into early smoking initiation as well as selection into early smoking cessation. Overall, determinants of smoking durations and mortality hazard are largely unaffected by unobserv- able heterogeneity. However, the latent factor model strengthens the results of the univariate models suggesting that increasing the quitting rate and reduc- ing the duration of smoking would decrease premature mortality. Whereas, prompting people to delay starting would shorten the length of time spent smoking.
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