Identifying the Temporal Causal Relationship Between Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption with Aggregate Cancer Mortality over Alternative Time Horizons

  • Zahra N. Masih Cornell University, USA
Keywords: cancer mortality, tobacco and alcohol consumption, temporal dynamics, long-run relationship, vector error correction model


Identifying the causal role of tobacco and alcohol has long been acknowledged as a critical area for developing preventative strategies in particular and public policy in general. This study utilizes a unique time series method in an effort to determine the strength of causal relationships between tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption and cancer mortality. By analysing tobacco expenditure, alcohol expenditure, while controlling for health expenditures and aggregate cancer data observed annually over an 80-year period fin the US population, we consider the relevant factors explaining and potentially guiding public health concerns going forward. Our results found that while tobacco and alcohol consumption (individually) causally impact cancer mortality, alcohol consumption maintains a stronger, bidirectional impact in comparison to tobacco consumption. From this, we consider explanations from an economic, biological and epidemiological front, gauging the strength of alcohol consumption on societal wellbeing. We find alcohol consumption to be a notable causal factor in cancer mortality that has been neglected from a public policy perspective in comparison to its more mediated tobacco counterpart.


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