Youth Smoking in the United States: Evidence and Implications

Jonathan Gruber and Jonathan Zinman

in Risky Behavior among Youths

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780226310138
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309972 | DOI:
Youth Smoking in the United States: Evidence and Implications

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One of the most striking trends in the behavior of youths in the United States during the 1990s has been the increased incidence of smoking. After steadily declining over the previous fifteen years, youth smoking began to rise precipitously in 1992. By 1997, smoking by American teenagers had risen by one-third from its 1991 trough. This trend is particularly striking in the light of the continuing steady decline in adult smoking in the country. Indeed, the youth-smoking rate is currently about 50 percent greater than the smoking rate of adults. This chapter provides new evidence on four aspects of youth smoking: the correlation between background characteristics such as race, sex, education, family structure, and work behavior and the decision to smoke (or how much to smoke conditional on smoking); the extent to which changes in background characteristics or changes in attitudes toward smoking can explain the precipitous recent rise in youth smoking; the role that public policy can play in deterring youth smoking; and the link between price and youth smoking, particularly among older teens.

Keywords: smoking; youths; United States; attitudes; public policy; price; sex; race; education; work behavior

Chapter.  19148 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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