Why Do Europeans Smoke More than Americans?

44 Pages Posted: 15 May 2006 Last revised: 4 Nov 2011

See all articles by David M. Cutler

David M. Cutler

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

While Americans are less healthy than Europeans along some dimensions (like obesity), Americans are significantly less likely to smoke than their European counterparts. This difference emerged in the 1970s and it is biggest among the most educated. The puzzle becomes larger once we account for cigarette prices and anti-smoking regulations, which are both higher in Europe. There is a nonmonotonic relationship between smoking and income; among richer countries and people, higher incomes are associated with less smoking. This can account for about one-fifth of the U.S./Europe difference. Almost one-half of the smoking difference appears to be the result of differences in beliefs about the health effects of smoking; Europeans are generally less likely to think that cigarette smoking is harmful.

Suggested Citation

Cutler, David M. and Glaeser, Edward L., Why Do Europeans Smoke More than Americans? (March 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12124. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=893779

David M. Cutler (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brookings Institution

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