Smoking: Making the Risky Decision

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9780195074864: Smoking: Making the Risky Decision
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Are the risks of smoking exaggerated? Has there been an open and rational discussion about the risks of smoking? This book attempts to answer these and many other questions about smoking. It provides a detailed empirical presentation on smoking behavior as a risky consumer decision. Using new empirical data based on several national and regional surveys, Viscusi addresses several issues, including: the sources of information that people have about the risks of smoking, the accuracy of their perceptions of risks associated with smoking, and the consistency of smoking decisions with other risky behavior--scrutinizing issues such as whether smokers value risk differently than those who wear safety belts. Viscusi also looks at the differences in age groups and how they assess these risks based on public information. He provides new insight into the degree to which individuals understand smoking risks and take these risks into account in their smoking behavior. With its detailed empirical data and its examination of individual decision-making processes, this work will interest researchers in public health, public policy analysis, psychology, and economics, as well as anyone concerned with this important issue.

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About the Author:

W. Kip Viscusi, John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics, Harvard Law School.

Review:


"Well written and accessible to a broad audience....The book is well worth reading for anyone interested in these topics."--Journal of Economic Literature


"A thought provoking book that will be of interest to researchers and policy makers concerned with smoking and public health."--British Medical Journal


"As much as any economist, Viscusi has undertaken the difficult task of disciplining formal models with detailed observation of actual judgements and behaviors. Smoking: Making the Risky Decision is a milestone in this long-term project, a book with theoretical and practical importance."--Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon University


"This book combines two disciplines, cognitive psychology and the economics of risk, to make an important contribution to the smoking debate. Viscusi shows that persons in all age groups overestimate smoking risks, as theory predicts, and that persons behave rationally respecting the smoking decision given their perception of the facts. After these findings, the smoking decision can justifiably be regulated only in consequence of third party effects, not because consumers make poor health choices.--Alan Schwartz, Yale Law School


"This book has a point of view that is underrepresented in the debate over smoking policy--that the objective of public policy should not be a smoke-free society, but risk taking based on accurate information and promoting competition for safer cigarettes."--Joseph P. Newhouse, Harvard Medical School


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