Project summary

We use retrospective data on individual smoking behavior to examine and contrast patterns and predictors of life-course smoking habits in ten countries. The set includes developed and developing countries and four formerly or currently socialist economies. We study smoking patterns of residents of Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Turkey, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the U.S. Relative to the existing research on smoking behavior, the three main innovations of the project are:

(i) with the longitudinal data, we describe differences and similarities in the patterns of life-cycle smoking behavior – by sex, birth cohort, and across countries. These patterns not only inform our understanding of how smoking has evolved in different countries, it also generates numerous hypotheses about who smokes, when, where, and for how long.

(ii) we compile historical time series of tobacco policies and the dates of major tobacco related historical events for each country. We are compiling time-series data for each country’s tobacco taxes, direct restrictions on smoking, information about the health consequences of smoking, restrictions on the advertising and sale of cigarettes, and other tobacco related events. Such data can be difficult to find and expensive to collect. But they are an instrumental input into behavioral studies.

(iii) we combine (i) and (ii) to test whether and how policies influence an individual’s decision to smoke (start, amount, stop). Our analyses compare and contrast responses to policies by gender and birth cohort within and across countries.

We gratefully acknowledge funding from National Institute on Aging Grant 1 R01 AG030379-01A2 for the project titled, “Cross-National Patterns and Predictors of Life-Cycle Smoking Behavior.”