Cigarette Taxes and Older Adult Smoking: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study


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Abstract

In this study, we use the Health and Retirement Study to test whether older adult smokers, defined as those 50 years and older, respond to cigarette tax increases. Our preferred specifications show that older adult smokers respond modestly to tax increases: a $1.00 (131.6%) tax increase leads to a 3.8–5.2% reduction in cigarettes smoked per day (implied tax elasticity = −0.03 to −0.04). We identify heterogeneity in tax elasticity across demographic groups as defined by sex, race/ethnicity, education, and marital status and by smoking intensity and level of addictive stock. These findings have implications for public health policy implementation in an aging population. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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