In order to develop effective policies and programs that reduce the number of smokers a necessary first step is to understand the determinants of starting to smoke. In this paper, we present a split-sample duration model of the decision to start smoking. We use data from the 2002 Canadian tobacco use monitoring survey. The hazard rate of starting smoking peaks sharply at age 15 and quickly declines thereafter. Our parametric estimates provide evidence that gender, education, marital status and household size are important determinants of the smoking habit. We also find that higher cigarettes prices have an impact on picking up the habit, but not on the initiation age. Thus, the results highlight the importance of cigarette taxes in influencing the likelihood of smoking.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nisha_malhotra/12/