Research Summary

I am Professor of Health Economics at the Institute for Health & Aging and the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF. My research areas include: (1) economic cost of smoking, other tobacco use, and secondhand smoke exposure; (2) economic evaluation of cigarette taxes and other tobacco control policies; and (3) cost of cancer and other illnesses. I have substantial experience in developing econometric models and analytical methodologies on the evaluation of tobacco control policy and the estimation of economic cost of smoking. I have expanded my cost-of-smoking research to low- or middle-income countries including China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Tanzania, as well as vulnerable sub-population such as African Americans, Hispanics, and persons with mental illness. I am a co-investigator of a recently completed study that estimated the costs of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure in 2009 for each of 58 counties in California. This is the third in a series of studies on the cost of smoking in California that my research team has conducted every 10 years since 1989. Our county-level cost of smoking estimates have been widely used by policymakers, legislators, and tobacco control advocates in California, where many policies are made at the local level. I have recently completed a study that estimated the mortality and healthcare costs of lung cancer attributable to smoking among African Americans in the US. Currently, I am a PI of an ongoing three-year project that evaluates the impact of tobacco tax policy on cigarette smoking behaviors and quitting behaviors among African Americans, and assesses whether tobacco tax increases are regressive to the African American community in California. I am also a co-investigator of five ongoing research projects, one of which is a large five-year UCSF Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science Center (TCORS) Grant funded by NIH/FDA to estimate the healthcare costs attributable to different tobacco product uses such as menthol cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco. My research work in the economic cost of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure and the economic impact of tobacco control policies is highly relevant to the development of tailored tobacco prevention and intervention policies to further reduce the burden of tobacco use and, consequently, the burden of cancer, because tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer.


National Taiwan University, Taiwan, BA, 1977, Economics
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, MA, 1980, Economics
University of California, Berkeley, CA, Ph.D., 1992, Agriculture & Resource Economics
University of California, Berkeley, CA, Postdoc, 1994, Health Economics

Honors & Awards

  • 1974-1976
    Presidential Awards, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • 1993-1994
    National Institute on Aging Postdoctoral Fellowship, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • 1994
    RAND Summer Institute Fellowship in Demography, Economics, and Epidemiology of Aging, Santa Monica, CA (NIA, Michigan-RAND 1994 Summer Institute Demography of Aging)

Selected Publications

  1. Max W, Stark B, Sung HY, Offen N. Smoking-Attributable Doctor Visits and Emergency Room Utilization and Costs by California's Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community. J Homosex. 2021 Jun 29; 1-17.  View on PubMed
  2. Keeler C, Wang Y, Max W, Yao T, Gu D, Sung HY. The association of California's Proposition 56 tobacco tax increase with smoking behavior across racial and ethnic groups and by income. Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 Jun 17.  View on PubMed
  3. Wang Y, Max W, Yao T, Keeler C, Sung HY. Differential price-responsiveness of smoking behaviors among non-Hispanic African Americans and non-Hispanic whites in the United States. Addiction. 2021 Oct; 116(10):2859-2869.  View on PubMed
  4. Wang Y, Watkins SL, Sung HY, Yao T, Lightwood J, Max W. Health Care Utilization of Menthol and Non-menthol Cigarette Smokers. Nicotine Tob Res. 2021 01 07; 23(1):195-202.  View on PubMed
  5. Yao T, Sung HY, Huang J, Chu L, St Helen G, Max W. The impact of e-cigarette and cigarette prices on e-cigarette and cigarette sales in California. Prev Med Rep. 2020 Dec; 20:101244.  View on PubMed
  6. Keeler C, Max W, Yerger VB, Yao T, Wang Y, Ong MK, Sung HY. Effects of Cigarette Prices on Intention to Quit, Quit Attempts, and Successful Cessation Among African American Smokers. Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 04 17; 22(4):522-531.  View on PubMed
  7. Keeler C, Max W, Yao T, Wang Y, Zhang X, Sung HY. Smoking Behavior in Low- and High-Income Adults Immediately Following California Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax Increase. Am J Public Health. 2020 06; 110(6):868-870.  View on PubMed
  8. Max WB, Stark BB, Sung HY, Offen NB. Deaths from smoking and from HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men in California, 2005-2050. Tob Control. 2020 05; 29(3):305-311.  View on PubMed
  9. Yao T, Sung HY, Wang Y, Lightwood J, Max W. Healthcare Costs of Secondhand Smoke Exposure at Home for U.S. Children. Am J Prev Med. 2019 02; 56(2):281-287.  View on PubMed
  10. Sung HY, Penko J, Cummins SE, Max W, Zhu SH, Bibbins-Domingo K, Kohatsu ND. Economic Impact of Financial Incentives and Mailing Nicotine Patches to Help Medicaid Smokers Quit Smoking: A Cost-Benefit Analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2018 12; 55(6 Suppl 2):S148-S158.  View on PubMed
  11. Max WB, Sung HY, Lightwood J, Wang Y, Yao T. Modelling the impact of a new tobacco product: review of Philip Morris International's Population Health Impact Model as applied to the IQOS heated tobacco product. Tob Control. 2018 11; 27(Suppl 1):s82-s86.  View on PubMed
  12. Wang Y, Sung HY, Lightwood J, Chaffee BW, Yao T, Max W. Health Care Utilization and Expenditures Attributable to Smokeless Tobacco Use Among US Adults. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 09 25; 20(11):1359-1368.  View on PubMed
  13. Sung HY, Wang Y, Yao T, Lightwood J, Max W. Polytobacco Use and Nicotine Dependence Symptoms Among US Adults, 2012-2014. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 08 14; 20(suppl_1):S88-S98.  View on PubMed
  14. Wang Y, Sung HY, Yao T, Lightwood J, Max W. Infrequent and Frequent Nondaily Smokers and Daily Smokers: Their Characteristics and Other Tobacco Use Patterns. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 05 03; 20(6):741-748.  View on PubMed
  15. Wang Y, Sung HY, Yao T, Lightwood J, Max W. Health Care Utilization and Expenditures Attributable to Cigar Smoking Among US Adults, 2000-2015. Public Health Rep. 2018 May/Jun; 133(3):329-337.  View on PubMed
  16. Soneji SS, Sung HY, Primack BA, Pierce JP, Sargent JD. Quantifying population-level health benefits and harms of e-cigarette use in the United States. PLoS One. 2018; 13(3):e0193328.  View on PubMed
  17. Yao T, Sung HY, Wang Y, Lightwood J, Max W. Healthcare costs attributable to secondhand smoke exposure at home for U.S. adults. Prev Med. 2018 03; 108:41-46.  View on PubMed
  18. Yao T, Max W, Sung HY, Glantz SA, Goldberg RL, Wang JB, Wang Y, Lightwood J, Cataldo J. Relationship between spending on electronic cigarettes, 30-day use, and disease symptoms among current adult cigarette smokers in the U.S. PLoS One. 2017; 12(11):e0187399.  View on PubMed
  19. Keeler C, Max W, Yerger V, Yao T, Ong MK, Sung HY. The Association of Menthol Cigarette Use With Quit Attempts, Successful Cessation, and Intention to Quit Across Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States. Nicotine Tob Res. 2017 Nov 07; 19(12):1450-1464.  View on PubMed
  20. Yao T, Ong MK, Max W, Keeler C, Wang Y, Yerger VB, Sung HY. Responsiveness to cigarette prices by different racial/ethnic groups of US adults. Tob Control. 2018 05; 27(3):301-309.  View on PubMed

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