The European Smoking Bans and Mature Smokers: Can They Kick the Habit?
Using individual level data, this paper investigates whether nationwide smoke-free legislations in Europe lead to smoking reduction and cessation among mature smokers. It exploits cross-country data and the European Union's multinational governance that provides a quasi-experimental setting. Top-down regulations on smoke-free environment by the EU mitigate the self-selection bias and endogeneity bias of smoke-free laws generally faced in other settings. The results show that comprehensive bans lower smoking propensity by approximately 7 percent and reduced smoking intensity by 10 percent. The effect persisted and increased over time. Light smokers and heavy smokers were 14.5 and 7.2 percent more likely to quit while there is no significant effect on average smokers. Those working in industry and occupation that faced with more comprehensive and strict bans were also more likely to quit, showing that comprehensive bans can increase smoking cessation even among mature smokers with well-established addiction.