Impact of the 2010 tobacco tax increase in Australia on short-term smoking cessation: a continuous tracking survey

Med J Aust. 2011 Oct 17;195(8):469-72. doi: 10.5694/mja11.10074.


Objective: To use population-level data to monitor the impact on smoking cessation activity of the April 2010 Australian tobacco tax increase.

Design and setting: The Cancer Institute NSW [New South Wales] Tobacco Tracking Survey (CITTS) is a continuous tracking telephone survey conducting about 50 interviews per week. Data from February to September in 2009 and 2010 were analysed (ie, data on people who quit smoking in the 3 months before and 5 months after the tax increase in 2010 were compared, and quitting activity over the same period in 2009 was also analysed).

Participants: Adult smokers and smokers who had stopped smoking in the previous 12 months; 2009 (n = 1604); 2010 (n = 1699).

Main outcome measure: Recent quitting (defined as stopping smoking or trying to quit within a 1-month period).

Results: 22% of the sample reported that they had quit smoking in May 2010, compared with 13% in April 2010 and 12% in May 2009. Respondents interviewed in the 3 months after the tax increase (May-July) were significantly more likely to report quitting than those interviewed in the 3 months before the tax increase (odds ratio, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.26-2.69; P < 0.01). This increase in quitting activity was not sustained in the subsequent months (August-September).

Conclusions: The tobacco tax increase was associated with a short-term increase in the rate of smoking cessation among NSW adult smokers and recent quitters, suggesting that regular increases in tobacco tax may further encourage quitting activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Nicotiana*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / economics
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Taxes*
  • Young Adult