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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Medical Marijuana Laws and Tobacco Cigarette Use

Anna Choi, Dhaval Dave and Joseph J. Sabia ()
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Anna Choi: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Dhaval Dave: Department of Economics, Bentley University, NBER, and Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)
Joseph J. Sabia: Director of Center for Health Economics and Policy Studies, San Diego State University, University of New Hampshire, and Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

American Journal of Health Economics, 2019, vol. 5, issue 3, 303-333

Abstract: The public health costs of tobacco consumption have been documented to be substantially larger than those of marijuana use. This study is the first to investigate the impact of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on tobacco cigarette consumption. First, using data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we establish that MMLs induce a 2 to 3 percentage point increase in adult marijuana consumption, likely for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Then, using data from the NSDUH, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplements (CPS-TUS), we find that the enactment of MMLs leads to a 1 to 1.5 percentage point reduction in adult cigarette smoking. We also find that MMLs reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers, suggesting effects on both the cessation and intensive margins of cigarette use. Our estimated effect sizes imply substantial MML-induced tobacco-related health-care cost savings, ranging from $4.6 to $6.9 billion per year.

Keywords: medical marijuana laws; tobacco cigarette consumption; smoking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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