Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Tobacco Control Policies and Youth Cigarette Smoking: Evidence from State Youth Risk Behavioral Survey from 1991 to 2013

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 12:00 AM
Tuttle Prefunction (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Bo Feng, Georgia State University
The United States has achieved a tremendous success in tobacco control over the past decades. Public’s collective opinion on smoking has been shifted from an accepted social norm to a discouraged threat that harms individuals and society. Throughout a history of efforts, science and research, we have built an array of interventions that are proven to work. However, to free the next generation from tobacco burdens, and to claim the sheer victory of tobacco-free, we have more efforts to make. This paper examines the impact of state tobacco control policies on teenage smoking, utilizing newer and more extensive data. By strengthening our knowledge in this particular population, I strive to answer three questions: 1) Do cigarette prices still play the dominant role in deterring youth smoking when other relevant tobacco policies are controlled for in the model? 2) Are cigarette prices still binding when state anti-smoking sentiments are explicitly controlled for? and 3) Does the overall price elasticity of smoking still fall within the range of previous literature using more recent and broad data? I capitalize on the restricted use and area-identified state Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS), which is representative at the sub-national level, from year 1991 to 2013. Forty-four states that authorized CDC to distribute their data or directly provided the data to me are included in this analysis, yielding a final sample over 700,000 youths. I extracted state cigarette taxes by year from the Tax Burden on Tobacco (Walker, 2014), and adjusted to 2008 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Other tobacco control policies such as Youth Access Laws, Smoke-free Air Laws, Purchase-and-Possession laws were also matched to respondents by their state of residency. Final data was restricted to youths with no missing values on their demographic information and smoking behaviors. After imposing this constraint, approximately 7 percent of the sample was truncated. My preliminary analysis identified four interesting results. First, price remains the dominant factor in influencing youth decision to smoke, while its impact on the quantity they consumed is much smaller. Second, although high-school aged males are very responsive to cigarette prices when deciding to smoke, once they are smokers, price has little impact on how much they smoke. Third, state anti-smoking sentiment exerts a significant impact on youth probability of smoking; however, its effect on the intensive margin is limited. Fourth, some tobacco control policies, such as Youth-Access Laws, appeared to decrease youth smoking.