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J Health Econ. 1999 Dec;18(6):769-93.

The complementarity of teen smoking and drinking.

Author information

  • Department of Economics, Swarthmore College, PA 19081, USA. tdee1@swarthmore.edu


Teen drinkers are over twice as likely as abstainers to smoke cigarettes. This empirical study provides evidence of a robust complementarity between these health behaviors by exploiting the "cross-price" effects. The results indicate that the movement away from minimum legal drinking ages of 18 reduced teen smoking participation by 3 to 5%. The corresponding instrumental variable estimates suggest that teen drinking roughly doubles the mean probability of smoking participation. Similarly, higher cigarette taxes and reductions in teen smoking are associated with a lower prevalence of teen drinking. However, the results which rely on cigarette taxes for identification are estimated imprecisely.

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