CTFK/New STudy: Raising the price of tobacco will reduce smoking among youth

A new study in Tobacco Control confirms that raising the price of tobacco will effectively reduce youth consumption.   The study provides an estimate for the price elasticity of demand for youth in low and middle income countries, estimating that a 10% increase in cigarette prices would reduce youth smoking prevalence by at least 7.4%. In addition, such price increase would reduce the average number of cigarettes consumed by continuing young smokers by 13.7%.

 The study is based on data from 315,353 respondents to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey.

 Key Messages:

  • Raising cigarette prices through tax increases is the single most effective way to reduce tobacco use among young people in low and middle-income countries saving their lives and future tobacco-related costs.
  • Higher cigarette prices encourage young people to quit, prevent them from starting to smoke, and reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke if they continue to use cigarettes.
  • Youth in low- and middle-income countries is more responsive to higher cigarette prices then adults, which makes tobacco tax policy a very attractive youth smoking prevention tool.
  • According to WHO, low- and middle-income countries have on average low excise tobacco taxes reaching 26.7 percent and 34.6 percent of cigarette retail price, respectively. The WHO recommends that this tax reaches at least 70% of retail price. Therefore, there is a lot of room for a tobacco tax increase.

 Additional resources:

Full citation: Kostova D, Ross, H, Blecher, E, Markowitz S.  Is youth smoking responsive to cigarette prices? Evidence from low- and middle-income countries. Tobacco Control.  2011 July 7.

 A link to the article abstract [English only] can be found at: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/20/6/419.abstract.

 Tobacco Control is an internationally peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide. The journal is for health professionals and others in tobacco control and is a publication of the British Medical Journal.

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