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Investigating cigarette affordability in 60 cities using the cigarette price-daily income ratio

Abstract

Objective: To investigate cigarette affordability in 60 cities.

Methods: Affordability of cigarettes is defined as the ratio of the price of one pack of cigarettes to daily income (cigarette price-daily income ratio: CPDIR). Daily income data were calculated using the mean of the seven occupations with the lowest daily wage, as listed in the 2006 Union Bank of Switzerland survey; cigarette prices in 2006 were sourced from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Results: Cigarette affordability in most of the surveyed cities remains high. There is a tendency for cities with high income economies to have a high level of cigarette affordability. Most of the cities in Western Europe and South and North America have high cigarette affordability, whereas 66.7% of their counterparts in Eastern Europe have medium cigarette affordability. In Asia, all cities with high cigarette affordability belong to the group of upper middle to high income economies, except for the Philippines. In Africa, Johannesburg and Nairobi have high and medium levels of cigarette affordability, respectively.

Conclusion: Cigarette affordability for most of the sampled cities, especially those in high income economies, is high. There is room for increasing cigarette prices via tax increases. There is a risk that the increase in cigarette prices in newly emerging economies lags behind the high speed of economic growth being experiencing. Tax increases should be given high priority.

  • cigarette affordability
  • tax measure
  • low income

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: The author is affiliated with the Committee on Youth Smoking Prevention based in Hong Kong. The committee has received donations (total amount: $HK32 655 317) from three tobacco companies and Tobacco Institute of Hong Kong from 2002 to 2007 on two preconditions: no interference and no acknowledgment.

  • This paper used the income of low income group to measure the cigarette affordability.

  • Abbreviations:
    CPDIR
    cigarette price-daily income ratio
    EIU
    Economist Intelligence Unit
    FCTC
    Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
    GDP
    gross domestic product
    GNP
    gross national product
    PPP
    purchasing power parity

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