Depressive symptoms, smoking, and cigarette price elasticity: Results from a population-based survey in Taiwan
Publication Source

International Journal of Public Health

Journal article
Western Pacific
Economy status
Upper-middle-income economies
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To understand the association between depressive symptoms and smoking. In addition, we investigate how smokers with and without depressive symptoms may respond to cigarette price change differently.

We used data drawn from a nationally representative survey in Taiwan. Totally, 13,030 male adults were included in the analysis. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Taiwanese depression questionnaire. A logistic regression model was estimated to examine the odds ratio of smoking for those with depressive symptoms versus those without depressive symptoms. Focused on smokers, the ordinary least squares multivariate regression method was used to estimate the cigarette price elasticity.

Compared to those without depressive symptoms, those with depressive symptoms were more likely to smoke (44.5 vs. 50.1%) and consume more cigarettes per day (18.4 vs. 21.0). The odds ratio of smoking for those with depressive symptoms, adjusted for demographic variables, was 1.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.6). The cigarette price elasticity was estimated at -0.82 and -0.41 for depressive smokers and non-depressive smokers, respectively.

Although the association between depression and smoking had been documented, this study contributes to previous literature by investigating the extent to which cigarette price elasticities may differ between smokers with and without depressive symptoms. Results indicate that depressive smokers are more sensitive to the change of cigarette price. Therefore, tax/price increases can also be a very effective means of tobacco control for depressive smokers.