Objectives: To evaluate the effect of novel policies designed to increase cheap cigar prices by setting minimum prices at the local level.
Methods: Between June 2013 and July 2015, we conducted assessments at tobacco retailers in Minnesota cities of Brooklyn Center (n = 26 in sample; n = 18 assessed before and after policy implementation), Saint Paul (n = 25 in sample; n = 14 assessed pre- and postpolicy), and Maplewood (n = 22 in sample; n = 18 assessed pre- and postpolicy), before and after the adoption of policies setting minimum cigar pricing.
Results: After policy implementation across all cities (n = 50), significantly fewer retailers sold single cigars (46% vs 80%; P < .01) and 2- or 3-packs (52% vs 74%; P = .01). In Saint Paul and Maplewood, the average price of the cheapest available single cigars increased significantly by $1.17 (P = .03) and $1.27 (P < .01), respectively; the average price of the cheapest 2-pack increased by $2.46 (P = .02) in Saint Paul and by $3.08 (P < .01) in Maplewood. Policy compliance was high in all cities.
Conclusions: This study highlights the potential of policies setting minimum cigar prices to decrease cigar availability and increase price through nontax approaches. Results indicate that these policies are successful in cities of various sizes.