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.
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