Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study


Does Restricting the Availability of Cigarettes Reduce Smoking?


This paper estimates the causal effects of restricting cigarette availability on purchasing patterns. We design a research strategy that enables the estimation by leveraging the impact of an unforeseen discontinuation of products because of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. We analyze nationally representative home scanner data in Japan and find that making certain products unavailable leads smokers to switch to products with less tar and nicotine and purchase 32 percent fewer cigarettes per month. As a result, the total amount of tar and nicotine in purchased cigarettes has decreased by 43 and 30 percentage points, respectively. Such effects persist over the years.

Report No.: HIAS-E-108
Author(s): Ryota Nakamura (a), Ying Yao (b)
Affiliation: (a)(b) Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University
Issued Date: August, 2021
Keywords: Tobacco consumption; Supply restriction; Product availability; Natural experiment; Japan
JEL: D12, I12, I18