IZA DP No. 1737: The Effects of Smoking Ban Regulations on Individual Smoking Rates
This paper describes the dynamics of smoking behaviour in Australia and investigates what role smoking ban regulation has, if any, on individual level smoking patterns. The main argument to motivate the introduction of tougher smoking bans is the effect of second hand smoke on non-smokers. From a public policy perspective it is important to know if these policies also affect if a person smokes, or if they only influence when and where people smoke. We use data that tracks individual smoking behaviour over the period 2001 to 2003 during which separate smoking ban initiatives in Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory came into effect. We exploit this variation over time and across states as a natural experiment to assess the impact of tougher smoking regulations. Our findings indicate that the introduction of smoking ban regulations on individuals' smoking behaviour has the expected sign but is not significant for most types of individuals. Interestingly, we do find a significant 'rebellion' effect amongst 18 to 24 year old smokers, with the introduction of smoking bans found to increase the likelihood that they continue to smoke.