Age Variations in Risk Perceptions and Smoking Decisions
Viscusi, W. Kip
Abstract-The results of a national survey of smoking risks and smoking behavior are analyzed. Smoking risk perceptions follow the expected patterns given age differences in risk information acquired and differences in information associated with smoking status. Risk perceptions are greater as one moves to younger age cohorts, where overall lung cancer risks are substantially overestimated. These risk perceptions in turn have a negative effect on smoking decisions, where younger individuals behave no differently in terms of the manner in which they incorporate risk perceptions into their smoking decisions.