Price, Clean Indoor Air, and Cigarette Smoking: Evidence from the Longitudinal Data for Young Adults
NBER Working Paper No. 6937
The upward trend in cigarette smoking among teenagers throughout the 1990's has spurred a great deal of interest on how to discourage young people from smoking. This paper attempts to inform policy makers by providing evidence on the effects cigarette prices (which can be increased through cigarette excise taxes) and restrictions on smoking in public places and private worksites have on the use of cigarettes by young adults. Data on cigarette use are taken from the 1976 through 1993 surveys of high school seniors as part of the Monitoring the Future program. Seven follow-ups are conducted on each senior class and therefore each individual is sampled up to eight times. Site-specific data on cigarette prices and clean indoor air laws are added to the survey data. Individual fixed effects methods are used to estimate smoking participation and conditional demand equations. The results indicate that increases in cigarette prices would lead to significant reductions in both the number of people smoking and the frequency with which individuals smoke. The estimated overall average price elasticity of demand is -0.791. In addition, restrictions on smoking in public places and private worksites are found to be effective in reducing both the intensity and the propensity to smoke.