Journal of Political Economy
This paper reexamines whether higher cigarette taxes will substantially reduce youth smoking. We study the impact of taxes during exactly the period in adolescence in which most smokers start their habits. We find weak or nonexistent tax effects in models of the onset of smoking between eighth and twelfth grades, models of the onset of heavy smoking between eighth and twelfth grades, and discrete-time hazard models that include state fixed effects. We also provide a new perspective on the relationship between smoking and schooling: students who eventually drop out of school are already more likely to smoke in the eighth grade.