Education and the Demand for Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

Wednesday, June 15, 2016: 12:40 PM
F45 (Huntsman Hall)

Author(s): Michael Grossman; Daniel Dench; Dhaval Dave; Henry Saffer

Discussant: Hua Wang

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which “e-cigarettes” are the largest sub-category, are non-combustible devices that deliver nicotine by vaporizing a solution inhaled by the user.  Introduced into the US market in 2007, demand for ENDS has since roughly doubled every year, with sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2013, and expected to overtake cigarettes over the next decade.  The regulatory debate has centered on possible harm reduction, that is whether ENDS constitute a safer, if not a completely safe, alternative to smoking which is responsible for almost half a million deaths annually (USDHHS 2014b).  While for some current smokers, ENDS may assist in reducing or quitting smoking, ENDS could prolong a smoker’s nicotine addiction, and particularly for youths, may entice new initiates and nicotine addicts into the market who may eventually transition into smoking.  A considerable amount of previous research in health economics has examined the relationship between education and new information or between the former variable and the introduction of new technologies.  This research has documented more rapid responses by the more educated.  We propose a similar exploratory analysis for ENDS products using survey data both for adults and youths.  For adults, we will examine whether more educated smokers are more likely to transition from regular cigarette smoking to the use of ENDS products than less educated smokers.  For youths, we will focus on the impacts of parents’ schooling on initiation into ENDS and transitions from only using that product to smoking cigarettes.  Our estimates will control for demographic characteristics, income, and other relevant determinants.  Data sets to be employed will be selected from the following: the Simmons National Consumer Survey, the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health, the Tobacco Use Supplements from the Current Population Survey, the National Youth Tobacco Survey, the National and State Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, and the National Adult Tobacco Surveys.