Are increases in cigarette taxation regressive?

Health Econ. 1992 Dec;1(4):245-53. doi: 10.1002/hec.4730010406.


Using the latest published data from Tobacco Advisory Council surveys, this paper re-evaluates the question of whether or not increases in cigarette taxation are regressive in the United Kingdom. The extended data set shows no evidence of increasing price-elasticity by social class as found in a major previous study. To the contrary, there appears to be no clear pattern in the price responsiveness of smoking behaviour across different social classes. Increases in cigarette taxation, while reducing smoking levels in all groups, fall most heavily on men and women in the lowest social class. Men and women in social class five can expect to pay eight and eleven times more of a tax increase respectively, than their social class one counterparts. Taken as a proportion of relative incomes, the regressive nature of increases in cigarette taxation is even more pronounced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Nicotiana*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Class*
  • Taxes* / economics
  • Taxes* / statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology