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Cigarettes and addiction information: simulating the demand effects of the tobacco industry's 'conspiracy of silence'

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Although cigarette manufacturers were aware of the addictive properties of nicotine as early as 1962, the information did not become available to the US public until 1979 when the Surgeon General disclosed it (US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1979). This study simulates the impact this information would have had on the demand for cigarettes had it been released in 1962. The simulations build on past work by Fenn et al. (2001) who found evidence that the release of addiction information resulted in a structural shift in demand in 1979. In the present study, the econometric results from Fenn et al. (2001) are used to compute simulated time paths for state-level per capita consumption under the hypothetical scenario involving the earlier release of the addiction information. Using these simulated consumption paths; the projected reductions in cigarette sales revenue are calculated. These dollar figures provide a benchmark against which to judge the compensation amounts that the industry must pay because of recent tobacco lawsuit settlements.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2004

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