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E-Cigarette Minimum Legal Sale Age Laws, Traditional Cigarette Use, and Birth Outcomes among Rural, Pregnant Teenagers

Michael F. Pesko, Janet M. Currie

NBER Working Paper No. 22792
Issued in November 2016, Revised in September 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Economics

Restricting access to e-cigarettes for pregnant teenagers may decrease smoking cessation during pregnancy. We investigate the effect of e-cigarette minimum legal sale age laws on prenatal cigarette smoking and birth outcomes for underage teenagers using data on all births from 2010 to 2016 from 32 states. New panel data provides smoking information at four points in time for each teenager. We find that among rural underage teenagers, e-cigarette minimum legal sale age laws increased prenatal smoking by 0.6 percentage points (pp) overall and by 1.8 pp for those smoking in the 3 months prior to their pregnancy. These effects are especially large for black, rural teenagers who experience increases of 1.6 pp overall, and of 2.4 pp among smokers prior to pregnancy. Our results may indicate an unmet desire and need for assistance with smoking cessation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22792

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