Tobacco industry price-subsidizing promotions may overcome the downward pressure of higher prices on initiation of regular smoking

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Cancer Centre, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0645, USA.
Health Economics (Impact Factor: 2.23). 10/2005; 14(10):1061-71. DOI: 10.1002/hec.990
Source: PubMed


Real cigarette prices in the US increased from the early 1980s to early 1990s. Holding all else equal, adolescent initiation of regular smoking should have declined during this period. Using national population-based surveys (n = 336 343) conducted in the 1990s, we present trends (early 1960s to mid-1990s) in the initiation of regular smoking among 14-17-year-old adolescents and 18-21-year-old young adults. We also present trends in consumer-price-index-adjusted cigarette price and tobacco-industry expenditures for price-subsidizing promotions. We relate price and price-subsidizing tobacco industry expenditures to trends in initiation in the two age groups, using autoregressive integrated moving average models (ARIMA). From the model results, we conclude that price-subsidizing promotions may provide the tobacco industry with an effective way to segment the market. That is, they effectively offer lower prices to population subgroups that are more price-sensitive (e.g. young smokers not yet addicted), countering the depressing effect of general price increases on smoking. Thus, we find that the relationship of cigarette price to smoking behavior is more complex than previously described.

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    • "We expect that the use of state-level cigarette prices diluted the strength of any associations seen, since local taxes increase (not decrease) the prices that consumers pay for cigarettes. Another limitation of our study is that we did not take into account potential price-subsidizing promotions employed by the tobacco industry to decrease the actual cost of cigarette to consumers (Pierce et al., 2005). We could not reliably get this information but, again, we expect that this limitation means that our results are conservative estimates of the association between cigarette prices and smoking behaviors in this population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Little research has been conducted on the influence of macroeconomic environments on smoking among blue-collar workers, a group with high smoking prevalence and that is especially vulnerable to the effects of changing economic circumstances. Using data from 52,418 construction workers in the Tobacco Use Supplement to the United States Current Population Survey, we examined the association of labor market shock, cigarette prices, and state antismoking sentiments with smoking status and average number of cigarettes smoked daily. Data analysis included the use of multiple linear and logistic regressions, which employed the sampling and replicate weights to account for sampling design. Unemployed, American-Indian, lower-educated and lower-income workers had higher smoking rates. Labor market shock had a quadratic association, which was non-significant for smoking status and significant for number of cigarettes. The association of cigarette prices with smoking status became non-significant after adjusting for state-level antismoking sentiment. State-level antismoking sentiment had significant quadratic association with smoking status among employed workers and significant quadratic association with number of cigarettes for all smokers. The study highlights how both workplace-based smoking cessation interventions and antismoking sentiments could further contribute to disparities in smoking by employment status.
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