Social Interactions and Smoking Initiation

This paper explores the role of social interactions on a youth’s decision to begin smoking. Specifically, we estimate the effect of cigarette taxes during early childhood on beginning smoking later in adolescence in a discrete-time hazard model. These taxes do not directly affect children but may change the prevalence of smoking among parents, older relatives, or other adults. We find that a $0.25 cigarette tax increase during childhood decreases smoking initiation by 12.