The Long-Run Impact of Tobacco Control Policies on Smoking Initiation
Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 3:50 PM
Tuttle Prefunction (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Tobacco control policies such as cigarette excise taxes, smoke-free air laws, and youth access laws gained popularity in the 1990s and were expanded further in the 2000s. Studies have shown that tobacco control policies have a significant impact on the smoking behavior of adults, but adolescents are generally unresponsive to current policies. Other work has documented a high correlation in the smoking behavior of parents and their children. If this correlation represents a causal relationship, then we might expect policy-driven changes in parent behavior to affect the behavior of their children. In this paper, we consider policy changes that occur when an individual is age 7 and younger, which have no direct effect on their own smoking behavior, but do potentially affect the behavior of parents, older siblings, or other older role models. We estimate a discrete-time hazard model of the impact of tobacco control policies when an individual is young on the age they eventually initiate smoking, while controlling for the direct effects of these same types of policies at later ages. Preliminary results using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics suggest that initiation behavior is more strongly affected by policies exposed to during childhood than policies concurrent with the age of initiation. This is consistent with the existence of a causal relationship between children and parents or other older acquaintances. The existence of a strong indirect effect of tobacco control suggests that previous studies that focus solely on immediate effects dramatically underestimate the total impact of these policies.