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Heated tobacco products and combusted cigarettes: comparing global prices and taxes

Abstract

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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