Public policy and smoking cessation among young adults in the United States

Health Policy. 2004 Jun;68(3):321-32. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2003.10.007.


In the wake of significant budget shortfalls, numerous states have increased cigarette excise taxes to boost revenues. This study examines whether or not increasing the price of cigarettes, which will occur as a consequence of cigarette excise tax increases, and implementing stronger restrictions on smoking in private worksites and other public places have an impact on smoking cessation decisions of young adults, thereby influencing public health in the United States (US). This paper employs longitudinal data on young adults from the Monitoring the Future Surveys matched with information on site-specific prices and measures of clean indoor air restrictions. A Cox regression is employed to estimate the smoking cessation equations. The estimates clearly indicate that increasing the price of cigarettes increases the number of young adults who quit smoking. The average price elasticity of cessation is 0.35. In addition, stronger restrictions on smoking in private worksites and public places other than restaurants increase the probability of young adult smoking cessation. Given the well-documented benefits of smoking cessation, a significant increase in cigarette excises taxes may be one of the most effective means to reduce premature death and disease in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fees and Charges / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Econometric
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Public Policy*
  • Schools
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Industry / economics*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States / epidemiology