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Sex and Race Differences in Young People's Responsiveness to Price and Tobacco Control Policies

Chaloupka FJ and Pacula RL. Tobacco Control, 8: 373-377, 1999.

Objective: To determine if there are differences in young people’s responsiveness to price and tobacco control policies for population subgroups and to examine whether or not these differences, if they exist, can explain sex and racial differences in trends in the prevalence of smoking in young people in the United States.

Design: Use cross-sectional and intertemporal variation in local and state tobacco control policies and prices to calculate demand responses to these policies using regression analysis techniques.

Subjects: A nationally representative sample of American eighth grade (ages 13–14 years), 10th grade (15–16 years) and 12th grade (17–18 years) students obtained from the 1992–1994 Monitoring the Future surveys.

Main outcome measure: Thirty-day smoking prevalence.

Results: Young men are much more responsive to changes in the price of cigarettes than young women. The prevalence elasticity for young men is almost twice as large as that for young women. Smoking rates of young black men are significantly more responsive to changes in price than young white men. Significant differences in responsiveness to particular tobacco control policies also exist. These differences, however, explain relatively little of the differences in smoking prevalence among young population subgroups.

Conclusions: Policymakers need to keep in mind that there is not a “one-size fits all” strategy for discouraging smoking among young people.

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