Children’s health benefits of reducing environmental tobacco smoke exposure: evidence from parents who smoke

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This paper uses data from the 1991 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey to estimate propositions derived from a model of intrahousehold allocation, wherein parents engage in a consumption activity (smoking) that produces own utility, while generating environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) that harms their children’s health. We find a statistically significant negative association between sample mothers‘ assessed health of their children and the children’s daily exposures to ETS. Mothers’ average annual willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a 1-hour-per-day reduction in child ETS exposure (about a 17% decrease in daily exposure) is about $150. WTP estimates for respondent mother and child health status further suggest that smoking mothers on average value their child’s health roughly 55% higher than their own health.

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Correspondence to Mark D. Agee.

Additional information

Helpful comments and suggestions by Scott Atkinson, Donald Kenkel, and two anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged. Marcy Agee and Stefanos Nastis provided valuable research assistance. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided financial support through Grant#R82871601, the research has not been subjected to the Agency’s required peer and policy review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency

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Agee, M.D., Crocker, T.D. Children’s health benefits of reducing environmental tobacco smoke exposure: evidence from parents who smoke. Empirical Economics 32, 217–237 (2007) doi:10.1007/s00181-006-0079-0

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  • Children’s health valuation
  • Environmental tobacco smoke