Independent and Interactive Effects of Smoking Bans and Tobacco Taxes on a Cohort of US Young Adults

Am J Public Health. 2016 Feb;106(2):374-80. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302968. Epub 2015 Dec 21.


Objectives: We examined the mutual effects of smoking bans and taxes on smoking among a longitudinal cohort of young adults.

Methods: We combined a repository of US tobacco policies at the state and local level with the nationally representative geocoded National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (2004-2011) from ages 19 to 31 years and Census data, to examine the impact of tobacco policies on any current and daily pack smoking. The analytic sample amounts to 19,668 observations among 4341 individuals within 487 cities.

Results: For current smoking, we found significant effects for comprehensive smoking bans, but not excise taxes. We also found an interaction effect, with bans being most effective in locales with no or low taxes. For daily pack smoking, we found significant effects for taxes, but limited support for bans.

Conclusions: Social smoking among young adults is primarily inhibited by smoking bans, but excise taxes only deter such smoking in the absence of a ban. Heavy smokers are primarily deterred by taxes. Although both policies have an impact on young adult smoking behaviors, their dual presence does not intensify each policy's efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Policy / economics
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • State Government
  • Taxes / economics*
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco*
  • United States
  • Young Adult