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Differences in price of flavoured and non-flavoured tobacco products sold in the USA, 2011–2016


Background Limited data exist on whether there is differential pricing of flavoured and non-flavoured varieties of the same product type. We assessed price of tobacco products by flavour type.

Methods Retail scanner data from Nielsen were obtained for October 2011 to January 2016. Universal product codes were used to classify tobacco product (cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes (RYO), little cigars and moist snuff) flavours as: menthol, flavoured or non-flavoured. Prices were standardised to a cigarette pack (20 cigarette sticks) or cigarette pack equivalent (CPE). Average prices during 2015 were calculated overall and by flavour designation. Joinpoint regression and average monthly percentage change were used to assess trends.

Results During October 2011 to January 2016, price trends increased for menthol (the only flavour allowed in cigarettes) and non-flavoured cigarettes; decreased for menthol, flavoured and non-flavoured RYO; increased for flavoured little cigars, but decreased for non-flavoured and menthol little cigars; and increased for menthol and non-flavoured moist snuff, but decreased for flavoured moist snuff. In 2015, average national prices were US$5.52 and US$5.47 for menthol and non-flavoured cigarettes; US$1.89, US$2.51 and US$4.77 for menthol, non-flavoured and flavoured little cigars; US$1.49, US$1.64 and US$1.78 per CPE for menthol, non-flavoured and flavoured moist snuff; and US$0.93, US$1.03 and $1.64 per CPE flavoured, menthol and non-flavoured RYO, respectively.

Conclusion Trends in the price of tobacco products varied across products and flavour types. Menthol little cigars, moist snuff and RYO were less expensive than non-flavoured varieties. Efforts to make flavoured tobacco products less accessible and less affordable could help reduce tobacco product use.

  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • price
  • surveillance and monitoring

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