Low Cigarette Prices Increase Likelihood that Youths Start Smoking

This Policy Brief was written by Democracy Plus in Kosovo. The policy brief assesses the determinants of cigarette smoking initiation among youth. Around 9% of youth in Kosovo smoke cigarettes, including 11.7% of boys and 5.6% of girls, with an average smoking initiation of 11 years of age. The researchers find that price, ease of access to cigarettes, parental and peer smoking, and age are important determinants of smoking initiation among these youth. Specifically, a 10% increase in current cigarette prices would reduce the hazard of youth smoking by 13.1%. Cigarette prices are even more important in reducing smoking initiation among girls, for whom a reduction in risk would be higher by 4 percentage points. Exposure to peer smoking and easy access to cigarette purchase, on the other hand, increase the risk of initiation. The policy brief concludes with policy recommendations to reduce the likelihood of youth smoking initiation.

A corresponding Working Paper can be found here.