Article Text

Association between tobacco prices and smoking onset: evidence from the TCP India Survey
  1. Ce Shang,
  2. Frank J Chaloupka1,2,
  3. Prakash C Gupta3,
  4. Mangesh S Pednekar3,
  5. Geoffrey T Fong4,5
  1. 1Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  4. 4Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ce Shang, OklahomaTobacco Research Center StephensonCancer Center, Departmentof Pediatrics University of Oklahoma HealthSciences Center 655Research Parkway, Suite 400 ; ce-shang{at}


Background Tobacco use is prevalent among youth and adults in India. However, direct evidence on how increasing taxes or prices affect tobacco use onset is scarce.

Objective To analyse the associations between cigarette and bidi prices and smoking onset in India, and how these associations differ by socioeconomic status.

Methodology The Wave 1 of the Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation India Survey by the International Tobacco Control Project contains information on the age at smoking onset for cigarettes and bidis. Using this information, data were expanded to a yearly pseudo-panel dataset that tracked respondents at risk of smoking onset from 1998 to 2011. The associations between bidi prices and bidi smoking onset, between cigarette prices and cigarette smoking onset, and between bidi and cigarette prices and any smoking onset were examined using a discrete-time hazard model with a logit link function. Stratified analyses were conducted to examine the difference in these associations by rural versus urban division.

Results We found that higher bidi prices were significantly associated with a lowered hazard of bidi smoking onset (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.51). Higher cigarette prices were significantly (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.92) associated with a lowered hazard of cigarette smoking onset among urban residents, but this association was non-significant when SEs were clustered at the state level. In addition, the association between increasing bidis prices and lowered hazards of bidi smoking onset was greater for urban residents than for rural ones (p<0.01).

Conclusions Under the new regime of a central goods and service system, policymakers may need to raise the prices of tobacco products sufficiently to curb smoking onset.

  • economics
  • price
  • socioeconomic status
  • low/middle income country
  • taxation

Statistics from


  • Contributors CS conducted the analyses and wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to study design and reports interpretation. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors.

  • Funding The TCP India Project was supported by grants from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (P50 CA111236, P01 CA138389) and Canadian Institute of Health Research (MOP-79551 and MOP-115016). Additional support was provided to Geoffrey T. Fong from a Senior Investigator Award from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and a Prevention Scientist Award from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. Additional support in preparing this paper was provided to University of Waterloo by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (FDN-148477).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo, Canada and International Research Board, Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, India.

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

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Additional details of funding have been added.

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