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Smoking in lower socioeconomic groups is more responsive to increases in price than smoking in higher economic groups.

Many studies from high-income countries demonstrate that smokers who are less educated, have lower incomes, and belong to lower socioeconomic groups reduce smoking more in response to price increases than their counterparts in higher socioeconomic groups.

A study from Australia found the negative association between real cigarette prices and prevalence was stronger among lower-income groups. A one Australian dollar increase in cigarette price was associated with a decline of 2.6%, 0.3%, and 0.2% in the prevalence of smoking among low-, medium-, and high-income groups, respectively. Women with lower levels of education are particularly responsive to price, compared to highly-educated women.

Low-income smokers in Korea were found to be more responsive to changes in the price of cigarettes compared to their high-income counterparts. A 10% increase in price would result in 8.1% and 4.3% decrease in cigarette demand among the lowest and the highest income quartile, respectively.
Evidence of higher responsiveness to cigarette prices among lower socioeconomic group in low- and middle-income countries is mixed. This is likely result of the availability of the large variety of tobacco products allowing users to switch to cheaper options in response to tax and price increases.

Levy DT, Mumford EA, Compton C. Tobacco control policies and smoking in a population of low education women, 1992-2002. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2006; 60(Suppl 2): 20-26.

Siahpush M, Wakefield MA, Spittal MJ, Durkin SJ, Scollo MM. Taxation reduces social disparities in adult smoking prevalence. Am J Prev Med. 2009; 36(4): 285-291.

IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Tobacco Control, Volume 14. Effectiveness of Tax and Price Policies for Tobacco Control. (2011: Lyon, France).

Choi SE. Are lower income smokers more price sensitive? The evidence from Korean cigarette tax increases. Tob Control. 2016; 25: 141-146.

Farrelly MC, Engelen M. Cigarette prices, smoking, and the poor, revisited. Am J Pub Health. 2008; 98: 582-583.

Kyaing NN, Perucic AM, Rahman K. Study on poverty alleviation and tobacco control in Myanmar. HNP discussion paper: economics of tobacco control paper no. 31. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2005.

van Kinh H, Ross H, Levy D, Nguyen TM, Vu TB. The effect of imposing a higher, uniform tobacco tax in Vietnam. Health Res Policy Syst. 2006; 4: 6. logo
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