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01.04.2010 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2010 Open Access

The European Journal of Health Economics 2/2010

Interactions between cigarette and alcohol consumption in rural China

The European Journal of Health Economics > Ausgabe 2/2010
Xiaohua Yu, David Abler


The objective of this paper is to analyze interdependencies between cigarette and alcohol consumption in rural China, using panel data for 10 years (1994–2003) for rural areas of 26 Chinese provinces. There have been many studies in which cigarette and alcohol consumption have been considered separately but few to date for China on interactions between the consumption of these two products. Taxes are often recommended as a tool to reduce alcohol and cigarette consumption. If cigarettes and alcohol are complements, taxing one will reduce the consumption of both and thus achieve a double public health dividend. However, if they are substitutes, taxing one will induce consumers to increase consumption of the other, offsetting the public health benefits of the tax. Our results indicate that the demands for both cigarettes and alcohol are very sensitive to the price of alcohol, but not to the price of cigarettes or to income. This suggests that taxes on alcohol can have a double dividend. On the other hand, an increase in cigarette taxes may not be effective in curbing cigarette or alcohol consumption in rural China.

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