Academic journal article Contemporary Economic Policy

The Impact of Antismoking Policies in Korea on Quit Success and Smoking Intentions

Academic journal article Contemporary Economic Policy

The Impact of Antismoking Policies in Korea on Quit Success and Smoking Intentions

Article excerpt


Quitting smoking is not easy because refraining becomes more painful after addiction (Becker and Murphy, 1988; O'Donoghue and Rabin, 2002). Many smokers are not successful despite repeated attempts. Nevertheless, smoking cessation is not uncommon (Hersch, 2005; Jones, 1994). Why do some people succeed in quitting smoking while others do not? There are two views on this issue. According to Becker and Murphy (1988), failed quitting attempts can be explained as a rational process of searching for a successful method to stop smoking that is best suited to each individual. Assuming time consistency, these authors show that despite the reinforcement characteristic of smoking, individuals can quit when they foresee and consider the full price of smoking. Some empirical research supports this rational behavior of smoking (see Chaloupka, 1991; Keeler, Marciniak, and Hu, 1999).

Contrary to the rational model, the psychological and behavioral economics literature documents that people have time inconsistent preferences in their consumption of addictive products such as cigarettes (e.g., Gruber and Koszegi, 2001; O'Donoghue and Rabin, 1999). Time inconsistent individuals pursue immediate gratification and in doing so heavily discount the impacts of future decisions compared to those closer to the present. O'Donoghue and Rabin (2002) show that sophisticated agents who are fully aware of their future self-control problems may suffer severe harm due to feelings of inevitability and continue the consumption of cigarettes. Evidence for sophisticated time inconsistency comes from smokers' use of self-control techniques, their support of smoking bans in public places, and their view that cigarette excise taxes serve as a self-control device (Gruber and Koszegi, 2001; Gruber and Mullainathan, 2002; Hersch, 2005). Naive agents who are unaware of self-control problems will procrastinate quitting an established addiction. Gruber and Koszegi (2001) suggest that several unsuccessful quit attempts by smokers are indirect evidence for naive time inconsistency.

Around the world, numerous antismoking policies exist that have effectively reduced smoking (Chaloupka, Jha, and de Beyer, 2004-2005; Hammar and Carlsson, 2005). In the European Union, informational campaigns and regulation policies have increased quitting (Costa and Mossialos, 2006). Avery, Kenkel, and Dean (2006) find that smokers exposed to cessation advertising are more likely to attempt to quit and to succeed in quitting. Iwasaki, Tremblay, and Tremblay (2006) conclude that restrictions on cigarette advertising lower cigarette consumption. However, the statistical impact on cigarette demand from antismoking information and advertising campaigns is either nonexistent (Tremblay and Tremblay, 1995) or of limited impact (statistical probability at the 10% level) (Yorozu and Zhou, 2002).

Another policy instrument to discourage smoking is to increase cigarette excise taxes, particularly aimed at poor and young people (Chaloupka, Jha, and de Beyer, 2004-2005; Ross, Powell, and Tauras, 2005). To evaluate the effectiveness of tax policy, the price elasticities of cigarette consumption have been computed in developed (Sheu et al., 2004) as well as less developed countries (Lance et al., 2004). However, evidence from numerous studies (Kidd and Hopkins, 2004; Laxminarayan and Deolalikar, 2004; Sheu et al., 2004) shows that higher cigarette prices may not necessarily encourage quitting. Analyses that have examined both price and regulatory policies find that cigarette demand is impacted by price (Kim and Seldon, 2004; Lanoie and Leclair, 1998) and by regulatory policies plus price (Wasserman et al., 1991). Regulatory policies alone were found to impact the incidence of smoking among the population (Lanoie and Leclair, 1998).

The objective of this article was to investigate how quit behavior and quit intention have been impacted by national antismoking policies in the newly developed country of Korea. …

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