Online Program

Smoke-free laws and smoking prevalence in the United States, 1998-2010

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Thomas Carton, PhD, Louisiana Public Health Institute, New Orleans, LA
John Levendis, PhD, Economics, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA
Sang Lee, PhD, Economics, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA
Iben Ricket, MPH, Chronic Disease and Prevention Epidemiology Control Unit, LSUHSC School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA
Background: Previous research indicates that comprehensive smoke-free policies – those restricting smoking in all public places – have a stronger effect on smoking prevalence than partial policies – those exempting certain venues. However, previous research invariably treats smoking policies as exogenous, even though such policies exist endogenous to prevalence. This research treats smoke-free policies as endogenous and investigates how they affect smoking prevalence. Methods: A state-level panel data set was created utilizing smoking prevalence from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey, smoke-free policies from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation interactive tobacco database, cigarette taxes from the CDC's STATE tracking system, state poverty rates from the U.S. Census, and state unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1998-2010. Two statistical models – one controlling for endogeneity (Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data model) and one assuming exogeneity (linear fixed effects model) – were estimated using STATA. Results: The Arellano-Bond model found a strong, partially significant effect of comprehensive smoke-free policies in reducing smoking prevalence, but partial smoke-free policies had no effect on prevalence. While the exogenous fixed effects model also found decreases in smoking prevalence given comprehensive smoke-free laws, the parameter estimates were excessively lower in magnitude than Arellano-bond model estimates. Treating smoke-free policies as exogenous drastically obscures their impact. Discussion: Comprehensive smoke-free policies have a greater effect on smoking prevalence than partial policies, and ignoring the endogenous nature of such policies masks this relationship. Tobacco control efforts should promote comprehensive policies and evaluation research should treat such policies as endogenous.

Learning Areas:

Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define endogeneity in the public policy context. Evaluate the effects of partial and comprehensive smoke-free policies on smoking prevalence. Demonstrate the need to treat smoke-free policies (and tobacco taxes) as endogenous for policy analysis.

Keyword(s): Smoking, Statistics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have five years of experience in conducting quantitative research in biostatistics, epidemiology, and econometrics, and have been doing tobacco-related research for two years for the Louisiana campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.