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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 608;

Price-Minimizing Behaviors in a Cohort of Smokers before and after a Cigarette Tax Increase

Professional Data Analysts, Inc., Minneapolis, MN 55414, USA
ClearWay Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55425, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Linda Bauld and Rosemary Hiscock
Received: 11 April 2016 / Revised: 13 June 2016 / Accepted: 14 June 2016 / Published: 17 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
Full-Text   |   PDF [272 KB, uploaded 17 June 2016]


Cigarette tax increases result in a reduced demand for cigarettes and increased efforts by smokers to reduce their cost of smoking. Less is known about how smokers think about their expenditures for cigarettes and the possible mechanisms that underlie price-minimizing behaviors. In-depth longitudinal interviews were conducted with Minnesota smokers to explore the factors that influence smokers’ decisions one month prior to a $1.75 cigarette tax increase and again one and three months after the increase. A total of 42 were sampled with 35 completed interviews at all three time points, resulting in 106 interviews across all participants at all time points. A qualitative descriptive approach examined smoking and buying habits, as well as reasons behind these decisions. A hierarchy of ways to save money on cigarettes included saving the most money by changing to roll your own pipe tobacco, changing to a cheaper brand, cutting down or quitting, changing to cigarillos, and buying online. Using coupons, shopping around, buying by the carton, changing the style of cigarette, and stocking up prior to the tax increase were described as less effective. Five factors emerged as impacting smokers’ efforts to save money on cigarettes after the tax: brand loyalty, frugality, addiction, stress, and acclimation. View Full-Text
Keywords: cigarette tax; price minimizing behaviors; cohort; in-depth interviews cigarette tax; price minimizing behaviors; cohort; in-depth interviews
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Betzner, A.; Boyle, R.G.; St. Claire, A.W. Price-Minimizing Behaviors in a Cohort of Smokers before and after a Cigarette Tax Increase. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 608.

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