Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael Pesko

Second Advisor

James Marton

Third Advisor

Keith Teltser

Fourth Advisor

Jidong Huang


In my dissertation, I study the impact of cigarette regulation on two main outcomes: prenatal smoking and cross-border shopping. The first chapter of my dissertation concerns how state-level cigarette tax increases affect cross-state border shopping for cigarettes. To estimate this relationship, I use high-resolution census block group-by-month cellphone tracking data from Safegraph. I estimate a Callaway and Sant’Anna (2021) difference-in-differences model that accommodates my unique setting in which the tax increases I consider become effective at different times throughout the full length of the study. The use of this data allows me to avoid measurement error that could be present in self-reported data. I find that the median census block group (CBG) sent 0.53 more cross-border shoppers per month in response to a cigarette tax increase (19% increase from the pre-tax cross-border shopping mean). Further, I show that CBGs with many low educated adults and rural CBGs send substantially more cross-border shoppers than their respective counterparts. Performing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I estimate that cigarette tax increases before 2019 increased cigarette tax revenue leakage in 2019 by $531,581 in Oklahoma and $9,084,824 in Kentucky. In sum, these results suggest that cross-border shopping remains an ongoing challenge for tobacco control policy efforts and for reducing tobacco-related disparities.

The second chapter of my dissertation, written with my committee chair, studies how cigarette taxes and indoor smoking restrictions impact the propensity and intensity of smoking by a pregnant woman (prenatal smoking). We use data from the Nation Vital Statistics System to get smoking data from almost every pregnant woman in the USA from 1995 to 2018. To reduce bias from dynamic and heterogeneous treatment effects, we estimate a modified stacked difference-in-differences model that accommodates our unique policy environment in which policies are often gradually strengthened over time and dose increases vary. We find some evidence that indoor smoking restrictions modestly decreases prenatal smoking and, contrary to previous literature, that cigarette taxes do not significantly impact prenatal smoking. Indoor smoking restrictions may be better from a health-equity perspective than cigarette taxes.