An Analysis of Life-Course Smoking Behavior in China
With a total population of more than 1.3 billion people where more than 31% of adults smoke, China has become the world’s largest producer and consumer of cigarettes. We adopt a life-course perspective to study the economics of smoking behavior in China. We use data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) to follow individuals over their whole lives and to analyze their decisions to both start and stop smoking. We extend the small but growing body of economic research on smoking in China. Our life-course approach emphasizes that current smoking participation reflects a decision to start and a series of past decisions to not quit. We explore how the determinants of smoking initiation differ from the determinants of smoking cessation. We find results, consistent with some previous empirical evidence, that Chinese smoking is not strongly related to the price of cigarettes. Based on our results, we offer some speculative hypotheses that, we hope, might guide future research on the economics of smoking in China. It seems especially useful to compare the broad patterns we document with the experiences of other countries.
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Policy Analysis and Management
Previously Published As
Health Econ. 18: S147–S156 (2009)