Cigarette Taxes and Teen Marijuana Use

54 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2020

See all articles by D. Mark Anderson

D. Mark Anderson

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

The spillover effect of cigarette taxes on youth marijuana use has been the subject of intense public debate. Opponents of cigarette taxes warn that tax hikes will cause youths to substitute toward marijuana. On the other hand, public health experts often claim that because tobacco is a “gateway” drug, higher cigarette taxes will deter youth marijuana use. Using data from the National and State Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) for the period 1991-2017, we explore the relationship between state excise taxes on cigarettes and teen marijuana use. In general, our results fail to support either of the above hypotheses. Rather, we find little evidence to suggest that teen marijuana use is sensitive to changes in the state cigarette tax. This null result holds for the sample period where cigarette taxes are observed to have the largest effect on teen cigarette use and across a number of demographic groups in the data. Finally, we find preliminary evidence that the recent adoption of state e-cigarette taxes is associated with a reduction in youth marijuana use.

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Suggested Citation

Anderson, D. Mark and Matsuzawa, Kyutaro and Sabia, Joseph, Cigarette Taxes and Teen Marijuana Use (February 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26780, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3543303

D. Mark Anderson (Contact Author)

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States

Kyutaro Matsuzawa

San Diego State University ( email )

San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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