Do Minimum Legal Tobacco Purchase Age Laws Work?
27 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014
Date Written: June 25, 2014
This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of the minimum legal tobacco purchase age (MLTPA) laws on smoking behavior among young adults. Using data from the confidential version of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 Cohort), which contains information on the exact birth date of the respondents, we find that the impact of the MLTPA on several indicators of smoking among youth is minor and often insignificant. However, we also show that granting legal access to cigarettes and tobacco products at the MLTPA leads to an increase in several indicators of smoking participation, including up to a 5 percentage point increase in the probability of smoking for males and for those who reported to have smoked before. These results are robust under several alternative model specifications and imply that policies that are designed to restrict youth access to tobacco are only effective in reducing smoking participation among certain groups of young adults.
Keywords: minimum legal tobacco purchase age, smoking
JEL Classification: I10, I18, I19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation