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Spending on tobacco products and smoking supplies over time and across groups

Summary:
[embedded content] Last week, we used data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys to discuss changes in what people spend on reading materials. Here, we use the same data release to look at what people spend on tobacco products and smoking supplies. Our first FRED graph shows that, between 1986 and 2019, overall spending on tobacco/smoking decreased for the sum total of all surveyed households. We’ve adjusted the annual dollar figures by the consumer price index for these products to account for their changing price over time. (FYI: The nominal figure for these expenditures in 2019 is 0 per household.) [embedded content] Last week, we sorted the survey data by age group; here, we sort them by educational attainment, shown in our second, colorful FRED graph. The share of these

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Last week, we used data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys to discuss changes in what people spend on reading materials. Here, we use the same data release to look at what people spend on tobacco products and smoking supplies.

Our first FRED graph shows that, between 1986 and 2019, overall spending on tobacco/smoking decreased for the sum total of all surveyed households. We’ve adjusted the annual dollar figures by the consumer price index for these products to account for their changing price over time. (FYI: The nominal figure for these expenditures in 2019 is $320 per household.)

Last week, we sorted the survey data by age group; here, we sort them by educational attainment, shown in our second, colorful FRED graph.

The share of these expenditures decreases as the level of educational attainment increases. In 2012, households with at most a high school degree made up 47.3% of the overall spending, and households with a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree made up 15.4%. Given the consistent sizes of each colored area in the graph, we can see that the relative shares have been fairly constant, at least since data were first collected in 1996.

Be aware that these patterns across groups might cloud some of the socio-demographic factors at play here. Savvy economic research often considers those factors. And speaking of savvy, read the work of Michael Darden, Julie Hotchkiss, and Melinda Pitts for more insight into the connection between smoking, educational attainment, and wages.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, search for and select “Expenditures: Tobacco Products and Smoking Supplies: All Consumer Units.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Edit Line 1” tab to customize the data by searching for and selecting “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Tobacco and Smoking Products in U.S. City Average.” Next, create a custom formula to combine the series by typing in “a/b*100” and clicking “Apply.”

For the second graph, search for and select “Expenditures: Tobacco Products and Smoking Supplies by Education: Master’s, Professional, Doctorate.” From the “Edit Graph” menu, use the “Add Line” tab to search for “Expenditures: Tobacco Products and Smoking Supplies by Education: Bachelor’s Degree.” Repeat the last step to add the same series for the other education levels (associate degree, high school with some college, high school, and less than high school). Next, use the “Format” tab to change graph type to “Area” and stacked “Percent.”

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

About FRED Blog
FRED Blog
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is the center of the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve System. This District includes Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, western Kentucky and Tennessee, and northern Mississippi.

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