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Higher Prices Encourage Smokers to Quit

Higher Prices Encourage Smokers to Quit
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Monday, 21 August 2017 11:46 AM

Even though older smokers are more set in their ways than younger smokers, adding a dollar to the price of a pack of cigarettes would make older smokers more likely to quit, says a study from Drexel University.  

"Older adult smokers have been smoking for a long time and tend to have lower rates of smoking cessation compared to younger populations, suggesting deeply entrenched behavior that is difficult to change," said lead author Stephanie Mayne, Ph.D.,

"Our finding that increases in cigarette prices were associated with quitting smoking in the older population suggests that cigarette taxes may be a particularly effective lever for behavior change," said Mayne, who was a doctoral student at Drexel at the time of the study and is now at Northwestern.

The study included smokers who ranged in age from 44 to 84. In addition to finding that current smokers were 20 percent more likely to quit smoking when pack prices went up by a dollar, researchers found that there was a 3 percent overall reduction in smoking risk.

However, when the data was narrowed to heavy smokers (defined as smoking more than half a pack a day), there was a 7 percent reduction in risk.

When prices increased by a dollar, heavy smokers also showed a 35 percent reduction in the average number of cigarettes they smoked per day, compared to 19 percent less in the overall smoking population.

"Since heavy smokers smoke more cigarettes per day initially, they may feel the impact of a price increase to a greater degree and be more likely to cut back on the number of cigarettes they smoke on a daily basis," Mayne said.

While the study focused on smokers aged 44 and older, Mayne believes the price effect may be even stronger among younger smokers. "Some research suggests younger adults may be more price-sensitive than older adults," she noted.

The researchers believe that increasing the tax on cigarettes would encourage more Americans to quit.

The study was published in Epidemiology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarettes smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

Smoking harms almost every organ in the body. It is responsible for about 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer — increasing the risk of the disease by 25 times — and 80 percent of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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Even though older smokers are more set in their ways than younger smokers, adding a dollar to the price of a pack of cigarettes would make older smokers more likely to quit, says a study from Drexel University. "Older adult smokers have been smoking for a long time and...
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Monday, 21 August 2017 11:46 AM
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