Working Papers

Retail Tobacco Display Bans

Ian Irvine, Hai V. Nguyen

Bans on retail tobacco displays, of the type proposed by New York’s Mayor Bloomberg in March 2013, have been operative in several economies since 2001. Despite an enormous number of studies in public health journals using attitudinal data, we can find no population-based econometric studies of the type normally used in Economics. This paper attempts to fill that gap by using data from the annual Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Surveys. These data afford an ideal opportunity to study events of this type given that each of Canada’s provinces implemented display bans at various points between 2003 and 2009. We use difference-in-differences methods to study three behaviors following the introduction of bans: participation in smoking, the intensity of smoking and quit intentions. A critical element of the study concerns the treatment of contraband tobacco. Our estimates provide little support for the hypothesis that behaviors changed significantly following the bans, although there is evidence that the ban reduced smoking intensity among youth.

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Paper Keywords

cigarettes, display ban, smoking participation, intensity, quit intention