Intended and unintended effects of e-cigarette taxes on youth tobacco use

Rahi Abouk, Charles Courtemanche, Dhaval Dave, Bo Feng, Abigail S. Friedman, Johanna Catherine Maclean, Michael F. Pesko, Joseph J. Sabia, Samuel Safford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past decade, rising youth use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has contributed to aggressive regulation by state and local governments. Between 2010 and mid-2019, ten states and two large counties adopted ENDS taxes. We use two large national surveys (Monitoring the Future and the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System) to estimate the impact of ENDS taxes on youth tobacco use. We find that ENDS taxes reduce youth ENDS consumption, with estimated ENDS tax elasticities of -0.06 to -0.21. However, we estimate sizable positive cigarette cross-tax effects, suggesting economic substitution between cigarettes and ENDS for youth. These substitution effects are particularly large for frequent cigarette smoking. We conclude that the unintended effects of ENDS taxation may considerably undercut or even outweigh any public health gains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102720
JournalJournal of Health Economics
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Author order is alphabetic and lead authorship is shared among all the authors. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01DA045016 (PI: Michael Pesko), R01DA039968 (PI: Dhaval Dave), and an Evidence for Action grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant #74869 ; PI: Friedman). Dr. Sabia acknowledges support from San Diego State University's Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies (CHEPS), Dr. Courtemanche acknowledges support from the University of Kentucky's Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise, and Dr. Abouk acknowledges support from William Paterson University's Cannabis Research Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of any funders.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes
  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)
  • Smoking
  • Taxes
  • Vaping
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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