Certain states more aggressive with anti-smoking policies

Sacramento, CA – April 8, 2009 – A new study published in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy assesses the impact of state attributes on the likelihood that a state adopts policies to limit youth access to tobacco. Across nine different measures of youth access restrictions, results find key political, economic, and demographic factors influence the likelihood that such measures are adopted.

Craig A. Gallet, Gary A. Hoover, and Junsoo Lee utilized data on a variety of policies designed to restrict youth access to tobacco to address why some states are more aggressive in adopting anti-smoking policies than other states.

More politically conservative states, with higher per capita income, youth populations, and cancer mortality rates are more likely to adopt laws that restrict youth access to tobacco. The impact of these factors on the likelihood that a state adopts a particular policy depends on whether or not key statistical issues are addressed.

Also, advocates of youth access restrictions know it is easier to promote restrictions in more conservative rural states, with higher cancer mortality rates. According to the authors, “if state characteristics are such that it is more difficult to adopt youth access restrictions, then anti-smoking groups will need greater effort to overcome those obstacles.”

“By understanding the factors that influence the likelihood that anti-smoking policies are adopted, the long-term significance of our results is that they can be used to steer policy in one direction or another,” the authors conclude. For example, the most effective methods found to restrict youth access to tobacco are clerk intervention and random inspections.

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