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Compliance Inspections of Tobacco Retailers and Youth Smoking

Rahi Abouk and Scott Adams ()
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Rahi Abouk: Department of Economics, Finance, and Global Business, William Paterson University
Scott Adams: Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

American Journal of Health Economics, 2017, vol. 3, issue 1, 10-32

Abstract: Since 2010, the Food and Drug Administration has contracted with states to perform random checks of tobacco retailers to identify illegal sales to youths. We test whether the inspections affect youth access and smoking for boys and girls. Using the 2010–13 Monitoring the Future survey and data on the number and location of inspections in the first several years of the program, we find the checks have been successful at limiting access to cigarettes in small retail establishments. As for reducing smoking, we observe reductions only among girls. Boys continue to smoke with about the same incidence and intensity as before the inspections. The likely reason for this is that girls are generally more successful at purchasing illicit products at retail establishments while underage. Therefore, enforcing the minimum legal age laws for purchasing tobacco products likely curtails the access of girls to the illegal product.

Keywords: youth smoking; retail regulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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