Do Minimum Legal Tobacco Purchase Age Laws Work?

27 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

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

Yörük, Ceren Ertan and Yoruk, Baris, Do Minimum Legal Tobacco Purchase Age Laws Work? (June 25, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4860. Available at SSRN:

Ceren Ertan Yörük

The Sage Colleges ( email )

140 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

Baris Yoruk (Contact Author)

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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