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Health risk and the decision to quit smoking

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This study contributes to the understanding of the decision to quit smoking by taking into account the learning of new risk information. The specific hypothesis tested is that smokers learn new risk information and hence create an incentive to quit from their own experience. Probit models are estimated for the decision to quit smoking based on longitudinal data obtained from Taiwan. It is shown that health risk, measured by the observed change in health status over the period between two surveys, has a relatively substantial positive effect on the probability of quitting smoking. In addition, the results indicate that schooling has a significantly positive effect on the probability of quitting. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a Bayesian learning framework and suggest that the risk information obtained from individual experience, which is the sole source of information available to smokers in most developing countries, plays the same role that public information does.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1998

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