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Have Cigarette Taxes Lost Their Bite? New Estimates of the Relationship between Cigarette Taxes and Youth Smoking

(corresponding author, [email protected]) University of Oregon, NBER, and Institute for the Study of LaborSan Diego State University and IZAUniversity of Colorado–Denver and IZA

Using data from the state and national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys for the period 1991–2005, Carpenter and Cook (2008) find a strong, negative relationship between cigarette taxes and youth smoking. We revisit this relationship using four extra waves of YRBS data (from 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013). Our results suggest that youths have become much less responsive to cigarette taxes since 2005. In fact, we find little evidence of a negative relationship between cigarette taxes and youth smoking when we restrict our attention to the period 2007–13. We conclude that policy makers interested in reducing youth smoking may have to adopt alternative strategies.