The relation between cigarette price and hand-rolling tobacco consumption in the UK: an ecological study

Rothwell, Lucas and Britton, John and Bogdanovica, Ilze (2015) The relation between cigarette price and hand-rolling tobacco consumption in the UK: an ecological study. BMJ Open, 5 (6). e007697. ISSN 2044-6055

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Cigarette price increases reduce smoking prevalence but as a tobacco control policy are undermined by the availability of lower cost alternatives such as hand-rolling tobacco. The aim of this descriptive study is to explore time trends in the price of manufactured cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco, and in the numbers of people who smoke these products, over recent years in the UK.

SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: UK.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Trends in the most popular price category (MPPC) data for cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco from 1983 to 2012 adjusted for inflation using the Retail Price Index, and trends in smoking prevalence and the proportion of smokers using hand-rolling tobacco from 1974 to 2010.

RESULTS: After adjustment for inflation, there was an increase in prices of manufactured cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco between 1983 and 2012. Between 1974 and 2010, the prevalence of smoking fell from 45% to 20%, and the estimated total number of smokers from 25.3 to 12.4 million. However the number of people smoking hand-rolling tobacco increased from 1.4 to 3.2 million, and MPPC cigarette price was strongly correlated with number of people smoking hand-rolling tobacco.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the ecological study design precludes conclusions on causality, the association between increases in manufactured cigarette price and the number of people smoking hand-rolling tobacco suggests that the lower cost of smoking hand-rolling tobacco encourages downtrading when cigarette prices rise. The magnitude of this association indicates that the lower cost of hand-rolling tobacco seriously undermines the use of price as a tobacco control measure.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: cigarette prices, hand rolling tobacco prices, smoking prevalence
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Epidemiology and Public Health
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007697
Depositing User: Claringburn, Tara
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2016 09:02
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:24
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/32043

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