Per-pack price reductions available from different cigarette purchasing strategies: United States, 2009-2010

Prev Med. 2014 Jun:63:13-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.02.017. Epub 2014 Mar 1.


Objective: Following cigarette excise tax increases, smokers may use cigarette price minimization strategies to continue their usual cigarette consumption rather than reducing consumption or quitting. This reduces the public health benefits of the tax increase. This paper estimates the price reductions for a wide-range of strategies, compensating for overlapping strategies.

Method: We performed regression analysis on the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey (N=13,394) to explore price reductions that smokers in the United States obtained from purchasing cigarettes. We examined five cigarette price minimization strategies: 1) purchasing discount brand cigarettes, 2) using price promotions, 3) purchasing cartons, 4) purchasing on Indian reservations, and 5) purchasing online. Price reductions from these strategies were estimated jointly to compensate for overlapping strategies.

Results: Each strategy provided price reductions between 26 and 99cents per pack. Combined price reductions were possible. Additionally, price promotions were used with regular brands to obtain larger price reductions than when price promotions were used with generic brands.

Conclusion: Smokers can realize large price reductions from price minimization strategies, and there are many strategies available. Policymakers and public health officials should be aware of the extent that these strategies can reduce cigarette prices.

Keywords: Cigarette purchasing strategy; Price reduction; United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Commerce / trends*
  • Cost Savings / methods*
  • Cost Savings / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Taxes / economics
  • Taxes / trends*
  • Tobacco Products / economics*
  • United States
  • Young Adult