Price, income, and affordability as the determinants of tobacco consumption: A practitioner’s guide to tobacco taxation
Publication Source

Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Journal article
Economy status
Low-income economies, Lower-middle-income economies, Upper-middle-income economies, High-income economies

Tobacco product prices and consumers’ income are the two major economic determinants of tobacco demand. The affordability of tobacco products is dependent on the price of tobacco products relative to consumer income. Increase in tobacco tax is expected to lead to higher price, lower affordability, and reduced consumption. Price elasticity and affordability elasticity are used in analyzing the effect of tobacco tax increases on tobacco consumption and public health. The availability of both parameters raises the question of which one to apply in policy discussions.

Aims and Methods
Using global data on cigarette consumption, price, income, and tobacco control measures for 169 countries over 2007–2016, this study estimated the price elasticity and affordability elasticity of cigarette consumption by country income classification using country-specific fixed effects model for panel data.

The estimates show that the restriction of equal strength of the effects of price and income changes on tobacco consumption maintained in affordability elasticity estimation is valid for low- and middle-income countries, while it is rejected for high-income countries.

Affordability elasticity may prove to be a useful parameter to explain and predict the sensitivity of consumers to tobacco tax and price policy changes under conditions of robust economic growth, which are more likely to be observed in countries with initial low- or middle-income setting. It can provide a reasonable benchmark for tobacco tax and price increase necessary to effectively reduce affordability and consumption of tobacco, which can form a basis for building systematic tax and price increases into the tobacco tax policy mechanism.