Purpose: To determine the prevalence and predictors of the awareness of cigarette price increases following a cigarette tax increase, and assess the association of the tax increase and attempts to quit and reduce smoking among adolescents and young adults.
Design: We used a prospective cohort design.
Setting: Surveys were conducted in Minnesota before and after a $0.75 cigarette tax increase.
Subjects: We surveyed 3167 adolescents and young adults, including a subsample of 781 past-30-day smokers.
Measures: Outcome measures were awareness of cigarette price increases and, among past-30-day smokers, reported changes in smoking behaviors because of the tax increase. Predictors included demographics, social factors, and prior smoking behaviors.
Analysis: We estimated the prevalence of the outcomes and their associations with the predictors using logistic regression.
Results: Among all participants, 42% noticed an increase in cigarette prices after the tax increase, including 76% of past-30-day smokers. Being a heavier smoker, living with smokers, having more smoking close friends, and generally being aware of cigarette price changes prospectively predicted the awareness of the price increase after the tax increase. Among past-30-day smokers, 16.7% reported quit attempts and 24.1% reported reducing smoking because of the tax increase.
Conclusion: Because fewer than half of the participants noticed the cigarette tax increase, media campaigns to raise awareness of tax changes may increase their effectiveness.