The Effect of Public Policies and Prices on Youth Smoking

ImpacTeen Research Papers

The Effect of Public Policies and Prices on Youth Smoking
Ross H and Chaloupka FJ.

Prior economic research provides mixed evidence on the impact of public policies on youth smoking. This paper empirically tests the effects of various tobacco control measures on youth demand for cigarettes using data collected in a recent nationally representative survey of 17,287 high school students. The combination of comprehensive measures of numerous public policies with information on law preemption, enforcement tools and actual compliance with the law allows more precise estimates of these policies’ effects, compared to previous studies. All cigarette demand models control for the effect of price, which is represented both by a commonly used price measure and by a measure of price as perceived by the students – another unique feature of this study. The method known as a two-part model (developed by Cragg, 1971) estimates the propensity to smoke and the intensity of the smoking habit separately. The results indicated that relatively strong Clean Indoor Air Laws as well as Youth Access Laws have a negative effect on both smoking probability and on smoking intensity among high school students. Compliance with Youth Access Laws rather than their enforcement evaluates the real effect of these restrictions because an existence of an enforcement measure does not always lead to higher law compliance. The analysis also confirms that higher cigarette prices, regardless of the way they are measured, reduce youth cigarette smoking. Teen-specific, perceived price of cigarettes has the largest impact on cigarette demand.

Research Paper (PDF – 192KB)

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