A major state tobacco tax increase, the master settlement agreement, and cigarette consumption: the California experience

Am J Public Health. 2005 Jun;95(6):1030-5. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.042697.


Objectives: We evaluated the combined effects on California cigarette consumption of an additional 50 cent per pack state tax imposed by Proposition 10 of January 1999 and a 45 cent per pack increase in cigarette prices stemming from the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) of November 1998.

Methods: We used quarterly cigarette sales data for the period 1984-2002 to estimate a time-series intervention model adjusting for seasonal variations and time trend.

Results: Over the period 1999 through 2002, the combined effect was to reduce cigarette consumption by 2.4 packs per capita per quarter (1.3 billion packs total over the 4-year period) and to raise state tax revenues by $2.1 billion. These effects were similar to the effects of a 25 cent per pack tax increase enacted by Proposition 99 a decade earlier, although with decreased relative effectiveness as measured by percentage of reduction in cigarette consumption divided by percentage of increase in taxation (-0.44 vs -0.60).

Conclusions: A major increase in price through taxation and the MSA provided a strong economic disincentive for smokers in a state with a low smoking prevalence. This effect could be reinforced if part of the MSA payments were devoted to tobacco control programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Consumer Behavior / economics*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal
  • Program Development
  • Public Policy*
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • State Government
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Industry / economics
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / economics*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology