Risk Beliefs and Smoking Behavior

38 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2007  

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Jahn Karl Hakes

Albion College - Department of Economics and Management

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Abstract

We analyze smoking risk beliefs and smoking behavior using individual data from 1997 for the United States and 1998 for Massachusetts. Smokers and adults more generally overestimate the lung cancer risks of smoking and the mortality risks and life expectancy loss. Higher risk beliefs decrease the probability of starting to smoke and increase the probability of quitting among those who begin. Better-educated smokers have lower and more accurate risk beliefs, but education decreases the probability of smoking. Higher state cigarette taxes correlate with risk beliefs, but not with smoking status. The uninsured are especially likely to remain current smokers.

Keywords: smoking, risk beliefs, smoking risk, smoking behavior

JEL Classification: I12, I18, D80

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip and Hakes, Jahn Karl, Risk Beliefs and Smoking Behavior. Economic Inquiry, 2007; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=992355

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Jahn Karl Hakes

Albion College - Department of Economics and Management ( email )

Albion, MI 49224
United States
517-629-0650 (Phone)
517-629-0428 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.albion.edu/jhakes

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