Income Inequality and Cigarette Consumption: Evidence from the United States
Posted: 23 Mar 2016 Last revised: 19 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2010
There is enormous literature on the determinants of consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and on the magnitude of the impact of a wide variety of economic and noneconomic factors. Also, a huge amount of research has been done on the association between income inequality and health for which numerous proxies have been used. We seek to link these two strands of scholarship by treating smoking as a major health hazard and considering the association between income inequality and smoking. Using US state-level data for the year 2004, we estimate an augmented model of cigarette consumption in which income inequality is added to a fairly standard specification. Subject to the caveats appropriate for such studies, there is little indication of a significant association between income inequality and the health-retarding behaviour in the form of cigarette smoking. Estimates for other variables are broadly consistent with similar studies.
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