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Price and cigarette consumption in Europe


Objective: To analyse the variation in demand for tobacco according to price of cigarettes across the European region.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: All the 52 countries of the European region.

Participants: For each European country, data were collected on annual per adult cigarette consumption (2000), smoking prevalence (most recent), retail price of a pack of local and foreign brand cigarettes (around 2000), the gross domestic product adjusted by purchasing power parities, and the adult population (2000).

Main outcome measure: Price elasticity of demand for cigarettes (that is, the change in cigarette consumption according to a change in tobacco price) across all the European countries, estimated by double-log multiple linear regression.

Results: Controlling for male to female prevalence ratio, price elasticities for consumption were −0.46 (95% confidence interval (CI) −0.74 to −0.17) and −0.74 (95% CI −1.13 to −0.35) for local and foreign brand, respectively. The inverse relation between cigarette price and consumption was stronger in countries not in the European Union (price elasticity for foreign brand cigarettes of −0.8) as compared to European Union countries (price elasticity of −0.4).

Conclusions: The result that, on average, in Europe smoking consumption decreases 5–7% for a 10% increase in the real price of cigarettes strongly supports an inverse association between price and cigarette smoking.

  • GDP, gross domestic product
  • PPP, purchasing power parities
  • TCCP, Tobacco Control Country Profiles
  • UICC, International Union Against Cancer
  • WHO, World Health Organization
  • ecological study
  • cross-sectional study
  • demand
  • elasticity
  • health economy
  • smoking

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