Self-control and support for anti-smoking policies among smokers, ex smokers, and never smokers
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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.
KeywordsTime inconsistencies Smoking bans Tobacco taxes Spain
JEL ClassificationC35 C36 H39 I12 I18
Support from Ministerio de Educación project ECO2008-06395-C05-04, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund, and from Fundación Séneca through project 08646/PHCS/08 is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank two anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.
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