Does E-Cigarette Advertising Encourage Adult Smokers to Quit?

Dhaval M. Dave, Daniel Dench, Michael Grossman, Donald S. Kenkel, Henry Saffer

NBER Working Paper No. 24277
Issued in February 2018
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

Only recently introduced into the U.S. market, e-cigarettes have been aggressively promoted, and use is increasing rapidly among both adults and youths. At the heart of the regulatory debate are fundamental questions regarding whether e-cigarettes will draw cigarette smokers away from a dangerous habit or lure new initiates into tobacco use. We provide some of the first causal evidence on whether e-cigarette advertising on television and in magazines (which comprise about 90% of total media spending on e-cigarettes) encourage adult smokers to quit. We find that the answer to this question is a yes for TV advertising but no for magazine advertising. Our results indicate that a policy to ban TV advertising of e-cigarettes would have reduced the number of smokers who quit in the recent past by approximately 3%, resulting in roughly 105,000 fewer quitters in that period. On the other hand, if the FDA were not considering regulations and mandates that would likely eliminate many e-cigarette producers during our sample period, e-cigarette ads might have reached the number of nicotine replacement therapy TV ads during that period. That would have increased the number of smokers who quit by around 10%, resulting in an additional 350,000 quitters.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24277

Published: Dave, Dhaval, Daniel Dench, Michael Grossman, Donald S. Kenkel, and Henry Saffer. 2019. “Does E-cigarette Advertising Encourage Adult Smokers to Quit?” Journal of Health Economics 68 (December). citation courtesy of

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