As minimum wage rises, rate of smoking decreases

Valerie Bolden-Barrett | February 13, 2019

As minimum wage rises, rate of smoking decreases
A new series of studies found a correlation between a $1-an-hour raise for low-paid workers through minimum wage increases and a 4% decrease in smoking. The research showed that there also could be other advantages to raising minimum wages, such as improving mental health and increasing the weight of low-weight newborns. The co-authors of the research, lead author J. Paul Leigh, professor of health economics at the University of California Davis; Juan Du, associate professor of economics at Old Dominion University; and Wesley A. Leigh, graduate teaching assistant at the University of Nevada, Reno, conducted a series of studies on minimum wages and public health in the U.S. and U.K. between 1995 and 2016. The researchers studied self-rated health, absence from work, obesity, depression and alcohol abuse, and found that the minimum wage: 1) didn’t lead to higher numbers of unhealthy behaviors; 2) showed decreases in reports of self-assessed poor health, depression and absences from work; and 3) correlated with fewer low-birth-weight babies.

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