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Heated tobacco products and combusted cigarettes: comparing global prices and taxes
  1. Alex C Liber
  1. Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  1. Correspondence to Alex C Liber, Economic and Health Policy Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA; alex.liber{at}


Background Heated tobacco products (HTPs) have received excise tax rates that are lower than combusted cigarettes in most of the countries in which the products are sold as tobacco companies claimed their purported reduced risk products deserved such light touch treatment. This study sought to determine if HTPs are cheaper to use than combusted cigarettes when the cost of purchasing an expensive heating device upfront was considered.

Methods and Data Product price data for tobacco heating devices, as well as cobranded heated tobacco and combusted cigarettes for 2014–2017 for 34 countries was obtained from Euromonitor International.

Results Only in 17 of 46 country-year cases with adequate data were HTPs less expensive to use than combusted cigarettes over a year.

Discussion The tax advantages being given to HTPs may instead of providing a price signal to a consumer looking to switch, be providing a profit signal to tobacco companies to switch over to selling more HTPs and fewer combusted cigarettes. The implications of these dynamics for public health are unclear.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • price
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • taxation

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  • Contributors AL wrote the manuscript and performed all of the data analysis.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the American Cancer Society or the American Cancer Society–Cancer Action Network.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The original data used to complete the analysis are collected by Euromonitor International and obtained through a subscription. The author does not have the ability to share them. Instead, the processed data are being shared in the online supplementary file.