Existing evidence for the role of cigarette excise taxes and prices as significant determinants of youth smoking initiation is mixed. A few studies have considered the possibility that the impact of cigarette taxes and prices might differ by gender or race/ethnicity. In this paper, we address the role of cigarette taxes and prices on youth smoking initiation using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort and discrete-time survival methods. We present results overall and by gender, race/ethnicity, and gender by race/ethnicity. We examine initiation over the age range during which youth are most at risk of initiation and over a period in which substantial changes have occurred in tax and price. The result for cigarette excise taxes is small and mixed across alternative specifications, with the effect strongest for black youth. Cigarette prices are more consistently a significant determinant of youth smoking initiation, especially for black youth.
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