Panel Paper: The Impact of Tobacco-Free School Laws on Student and Faculty Smoking Behavior

Friday, November 7, 2014 : 10:55 AM
Galisteo (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Peter Hinrichs, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Rachana Bhatt, University System of Georgia
The goal of this paper is to examine how state laws banning tobacco use at school affect the smoking behavior of students and employees at secondary schools in the United States.  In 1994, the U.S. Congress authorized the Pro Child Act, which prohibits all individuals in all states from smoking inside schools, but this Act did not prohibit smoking outside of school buildings on school property. However, from 1992-2010 nearly half of all states passed laws prohibiting tobacco use in any form by anyone on school grounds.

This paper uses individual-level data on teenagers, young adults, and school staff across multiple years from two existing data sets: the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System and the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey. We construct pooled cross-sections from each of the data sets, which are then supplemented with additional data from a variety of sources. To estimate the effect of the tobacco bans on the smoking behavior of these individuals, we estimate a series of difference-in-differences regression models. These models exploit variation in tobacco bans across states and over time in order to estimate the causal effect of the bans.  Preliminary results suggest little impact of the bans on the smoking behavior of students and teachers, but a decrease in smoking intensity for non-teaching school staff.