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The impact of cigarette prices on smoking onset and cessation: evidence from Vietnam
  1. Cuong Viet Nguyen1,2,
  2. Nicole Vellios3,
  3. Nguyen Hanh Nguyen4,
  4. Thu Thi Le4
  1. 1 International School, Vietnam National University Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam
  2. 2 Thang Long Institute of Mathematics and Applied Sciences (TIMAS), Thang Long University, Hanoi, Vietnam
  3. 3 Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products, School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4 HealthBridge Foundation of Canada, Vietnam Office, Hanoi, Vietnam
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cuong Viet Nguyen, Vietnam National University Hanoi, Hanoi, Viet Nam; cuongwur{at}


Background Vietnam is a country with very high smoking rates among men. According to a Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted in 2015, the daily smoking prevalence among Vietnamese men was 39%.

Methods We used data from the 2010 and 2015 Vietnamese GATSs and cigarette price data from General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Since smoking prevalence is low among women, we only considered men. Using discrete-time hazard models, we estimated the effect of cigarette prices on smoking onset and cessation. Sensitivity analyses are conducted using different model specifications.

Results We find that higher cigarette prices reduce the probability of smoking onset. A 1% increase in the cigarette price reduces the hazard of smoking onset by 1.2% (95% CI −2.12% to −0.28%). This suggests that increases in tobacco taxation, which translate to price increases, can reduce smoking onset. We did not find evidence that cigarette prices impact smoking cessation among men in Vietnam.

Conclusion Vietnam should continue to increase excise taxes on tobacco products to reduce smoking onset. Since smokers are resilient to excise tax increases, other tobacco control policies, such as smoke-free areas and tobacco advertisement bans, should be better enforced to encourage people to quit. Other policies not yet implemented, such as plain packaging of tobacco products, may also encourage smokers to quit.

  • cessation
  • low/middle income country
  • price

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

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  • Contributors CVN: planning and conducting the data analysis and writing of the work described in the article, and being responsible for the overall content as guarantor; NV: commenting on and writing of the work described in the article; LTT and NHN: planning, commenting and writing of the work described in the article.

  • Funding All authors were funded by the International Development Research Centre.

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  • Competing interests None declared.

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