Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Medical Marijuana Laws and Tobacco Use

54 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2016 Last revised: 18 Aug 2021

See all articles by Anna Choi

Anna Choi

Sejong University

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Joseph J. Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

The public health costs of tobacco consumption have been documented to be substantially larger than those of marijuana use. This study is the first to investigate the impact of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on tobacco cigarette consumption. First, using data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we establish that MMLs induce a 2 to 3 percentage-point increase in adult marijuana consumption, likely for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Then, using data from the NSDUH, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplements (CPS-TUS), we find that the enactment of MMLs leads to a 1 to 1.5 percentage-point reduction in adult cigarette smoking. We also find that MMLs reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers, suggesting effects on both the cessation and intensive margins of cigarette use. Our estimated effect sizes imply substantial MML-induced tobacco-related healthcare cost savings, ranging from $4.6 to $6.9 billion per year.

Suggested Citation

Choi, Anna and Dave, Dhaval and Dave, Dhaval and Sabia, Joseph J., Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Medical Marijuana Laws and Tobacco Use (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22554, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2832558

Anna Choi (Contact Author)

Sejong University ( email )

209, Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu
Seoul, Seoul 05006
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452-4705
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Joseph J. Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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