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07.08.2017 | Research Article | Ausgabe 4/2017

International Journal of Health Economics and Management 4/2017

The short- and long-run effects of smoking cessation on alcohol consumption

International Journal of Health Economics and Management > Ausgabe 4/2017
Benjamin Ukert
Wichtige Hinweise
I thank Rusty Tchernis, Charles Courtemanche, Tom Mroz, Ian McCarthy, Guy David, John Cawley, seminar participants at Georgia State University, the Southern Economic Association and Western Economic Association International for helpful feedback, the editor, and two referees.


This paper examines the short- and long-term effects of quitting smoking on alcohol consumption using the Lung Health Study, a randomized smoking cessation program. The paper estimates the relationship between smoking and alcohol consumption using several self-reported and objective smoking measures, while also implementing a two-stage least squares estimation strategy that utilizes the randomized smoking cessation program assignment as an instrument for smoking. The analysis leads to three salient findings. First, self-reported and clinically verified smoking measures provide mixed evidence on the short-term impact of quitting smoking on alcohol consumption. Second, the long-term impact of smoking on alcohol consumption, measured with the historic 5 years smoking behavior, suggests that those with the highest average cigarette consumption and those with the longest smoking history see the largest increase in alcohol consumption. Specifically, abstaining from smoking or reducing the average cigarette consumption to the mean level lowers alcohol consumption by roughly 25% per week. As a result, these findings present comprehensive evidence that smoking and drinking are complements in the long-term and that the public health and finance benefits in smoking cessations treatments are undervalued.

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