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Eastern Economic Journal

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 289–308 | Cite as

The Effects of a Minimum Cigarette Purchase Age of 21 on Prenatal Smoking and Infant Health

Article

Abstract

A key goal of US public health policies is to reduce costly adverse birth outcomes to which prenatal smoking is a crucial contributor. This study is the first to evaluate the impacts of a minimum cigarette purchase age of 21 implemented in the state of Pennsylvania on prenatal smoking and infant health. Using a regression discontinuity method, it shows this smoking age of 21 reduces the prenatal daily cigarette consumption by 15 percent and lowers the incidence of low birth weight infants by 19 percent. These findings shed new light on the current political debate over raising the smoking age.

Keywords

minimum cigarette purchase age of 21 tobacco control prenatal smoking birth weight low birth weight 

JEL Classifications

D13 I12 I18 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This article was originally circulated as a working paper titled “Does a Minimum Cigarette Purchase Age of 21 Protect Young Mothers from Cigarettes, Help Their Babies?” I am very grateful to Kathleen Adams, Reagan Baughmann, Lee Benham, David Bradford, Bill Evans, Angela Fertig, Sebastian Galiani, Daniel Hamermesh, Bart Hamilton, James Heckman, Joseph Hotz, Sukkoo Kim, Tim Mcbride, Edward Miguel, Karen Norberg, Juan Pantano, Bob Pollak, and Ping Wang for many helpful comments. I am also grateful to David Bishai, Kruti Dholakia, Lauren Heller, Angelo Mele, Nicholas Papageorge, Bo Yu, and other participants in the seminars of Economics Department and Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis, Population Association of America Annual Meeting, Southern Economics Association Meeting, Missouri Valley Economics Association Meeting, and Washington University Graduate Research Conference. Special acknowledgment is due Craig Edelman for facilitating access to the Pennsylvania Natality Detail File. Funding support was provided by the Center for Research in Economics and Strategy (CRES) and the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences (CNISS) at Washington University in Saint Louis. The errors are mine.

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Copyright information

© Eastern Economic Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsAppalachian State UniversityNCUSA

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