Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #27

The Determinants of Smoking Initiation - Empirical Evidence for Germany

by Silja Göhlmann

RWI, 08/2007, 35 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-022-0



This paper aims at analyzing the determinants of the decision to start smoking using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). The data used is a combination of retrospective information on the age individuals started smoking and,by tracing back these individuals within the panel structure up to the point they started smoking, information on characteristics at the age of smoking initiation. In contrast to other papers, it is possible to control for the environment at the time of smoking onset that might have influenced the decision to start. Moreover, never-smokers can be distinguished from ex-smokers. I estimate discrete, but also continuous time hazard models. Results indicate that young higher educated individuals are less likely to start, whereas the hazard of starting among older individuals is not affected by education. Furthermore, parental smoking during the whole childhood significantly increases the probability to start. Almost no significant effects are found regarding parental education, labor market status and living in a large city. Price effects could not be identified, because in Germany prices did not vary during the last decades up to 2002.

JEL-Classification: I12

Keywords: GSOEP; youths; discrete time hazard model; log-logistic duration analysis