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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 1:30 PM

Youth Smoking in Low Income Countries: Why Socio-economic Background Matters

Firman Witoelar, PhD, Economic Growth Center, Yale University, 27 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, Pungpond Rukumnuaykit, PhD, Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, and John A. Strauss, Department of Economics, University of Southern California.

Objective: To investigate socio-economic factors that may affect smoking participation and intensity amoung youth in the context of low income population.

Methods: We employ a multivariate analysis approach using a longitudinal household survey that follows the same individuals and households over three waves of survey, covering a seven year period (the Indonesia Family Life Survey 1993, 1997 and 2000). We investigate how price of cigarettes, education, and income influence smoking participation and intensity. We also study the effects of the socio-economic factors on starting and quitting behavior.

Results: Our descriptive analysis suggests a disconcerting trend toward earlier initiation to smoking among Indonesians. The multivariate analysis shows that parental education has significant, negative effects on smoking participation and smoking intensity of male youth (15-19). The same is true of effects of own education on smoking of adult male 20-59 years old. While income does not seem to have significant effect on smoking participation, it does seem to have significant, positive relationship with smoking intensity of adult male 20-59 years old. We also found that conditional on smoking a positive amount of cigarettes, the price elasticity is around 0.3 when we control for regional/locational characteristics. With price elasticity being relatively low compared to those in developed countries, tobacco control policy that depends on price (e.g. cigarette tax) may not be effective. The findings showing that education and income are important in influencing smoking behavior, suggest some alternative pathways for tobacco control policy.