Is Every Smoker Interested in Price Promotions? An Evaluation of Price-Related Discounts by Cigarette Brands

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2016 Jan-Feb;22(1):20-8. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000223.


Context: Raising unit price is one of the most effective ways of reducing cigarette consumption. A large proportion of US adult smokers use generic brands or price discounts in response to higher prices, which may mitigate the public health impacts of raising unit price.

Objective: The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the retail price impact and the determinants of price-related discount use among US adult smokers by their most commonly used cigarette brand types.

Methods: Data from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey, a telephone survey of US adults 18 years or older, was used to assess price-related discount use by cigarette brands. Price-related discounts included coupons, rebates, buy 1 get 1 free, 2 for 1, or any other special promotions. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess sociodemographic and tobacco use determinants of discount use by cigarette brands.

Results: Discount use was most common among premium brand users (22.1%), followed by generic (13.3%) and other brand (10.8%) users. Among premium brand users, those who smoked 10 to 20 cigarettes per day were more likely to use discounts, whereas elderly smokers, non-Hispanic blacks, those with greater annual household income, dual users of cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products, and those who had no quit intentions were less likely to do so. Among generic brand users, those who had no quit intentions and those who smoked first cigarette within 60 minutes after waking were more likely to use discounts.

Conclusions: Frequent use of discounts varies between smokers of premium and generic cigarette brands. Setting a high minimum price, together with limiting the use of coupons and promotions, may uphold the effect of cigarette excise taxes to reduce smoking prevalence.

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
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Economic Competition / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult