An economic theory of cigarette addiction

J Health Econ. 1999 Jan;18(1):1-29. doi: 10.1016/s0167-6296(98)00037-x.


In this paper we present a model in which individuals act in their own best interest, to explain many behaviors associated with cigarette addiction. There are two key features of the model. First, there is an explicit representation of the withdrawal effects experienced when smokers attempt to quit smoking. Second, there is explicit recognition that the negative effects of smoking generally appear late in an individual's life. Among the things we use the model to explain are: (1) how individuals can become trapped in their decision to smoke; (2) the conditions under which cold-turkey quitting and gradual quitting may occur; and (3) a reason for the existence of quit-smoking treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Behavior, Addictive / economics*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Cause of Death
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cost of Illness
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / mortality
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Value of Life