The Smoking Epidemic across Generations, Gender and Educational Groups: A Matter of Diffusion of Innovations. Working Papers 2018:04, Department of Economics, University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”.
This study examines whether the temporal variations in smoking habits across generations and gender and among groups with differing levels of education fit the pattern proposed by the theory of the diffusion of innovations (TDI). We focus on the Italian case and employ a pseudo-panel derived from repeated cross-sections of the annual household survey, “Aspects of Daily Life,” that is part of the Multipurpose Survey carried out by the Italian National Statistical Office (ISTAT) for the period 1997 to 2012. The results confirm Rogers’ TDI and show that smoking prevalence has declined over time and across age cohorts: younger men of all educational levels and women with higher education are less likely to smoke than are those in other cohorts. On the other side, less-educated women, who entered the smoking-diffusion process later that others are more likely to smoke. Hence, socio-economic differences in smoking continue to persist, especially for women. According to Rogers’ TDI, smoking prevalence is expected to decline further, particularly among little-educated women.