Depression, Suicide, Tobacco Control Policies, and Cigarette Smoking Among High School Students

This article is concerned with the differential impact of real pecuniary prices and youth access laws on the smoking behavior among depressed and suicidal youth. Previous cross-sectional research on adolescents has a found a strong positive relationship between cigarette-smoking and depression. This article attempts to fill a void in this literature by examining the economic determinants of cigarette demand among high school students in the United States who exhibit depressive symptoms. The data for this study were extracted from 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001 National School-Based Risk Behavior surveys of high school students conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall price elasticity of demand was −0.899 for youths who had suicidal thoughts, −0.837 for youths who had planned suicide and −0.162 for youths who had attempted suicide. These estimates tend to be less elastic than elasticity estimates for non-suicidal youth.