The effect of health information on smoking intensity: does addiction matter?

Sen Zeng, Satoru Shimokawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate how health information, such as a notification of hypertension, influences smoking intensity differently among smokers with different levels of addiction. To circumvent the endogeneity of health information, we employ a sharp regression discontinuity design that exploits the discontinuity around the cut-off point for a hypertension diagnosis. The addiction levels are conjectured by the age of smoking initiation. Using individual-level data from China, our results demonstrate that a hypertension notification reduces daily cigarette smoking by 8.01 cigarettes among less-addicted smokers in the short term, while the influence is insignificant among more-addicted smokers; the observed difference is better explained by addiction levels than by health attitudes. The long-term effects of a hypertension notification are insignificant, regardless of addiction levels. Our results may provide new support for the importance of preventing youth smoking and providing regular medical check-ups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2408-2426
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 8


  • addiction
  • China
  • Health information
  • hypertension
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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