Self-control and support for anti-smoking policies among smokers, ex smokers, and never smokers

Eur J Health Econ. 2013 Apr;14(2):161-70. doi: 10.1007/s10198-011-0356-5. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


In this paper, we sustain that non-smokers who might be at risk of starting to smoke or relapsing can benefit from anti-smoking policies such as tax hikes and smoking bans because these are mechanisms that enhance their self-control with regard to tobacco consumption. We formalize this conjecture by proposing a model where starting/relapsing might result from time inconsistent preferences in a way that mirrors the inability of some smokers to carry out the decision to quit. Subsequently, we specify econometric models that allow us to test the implications of such conjecture using information on smoking behavior at the individual level from the Catalan Health Survey of 2006. The empirical results support our conjecture and suggest that the welfare gains derived from the reinforcement of self-control caused by tax hikes and smoking bans will accrue not only to smokers but also to the rest of the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Models, Economic
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Smoke-Free Policy*
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Taxes*