This study investigated the effects of the price of tobacco on smoking behaviors in Korean adult smokers using a
population-based survey. Current smokers or former smokers who quit smoking<1 year prior to the survey were selected from the data of 2015 Korea Community Health Survey (N=45,686). The effects of the price of tobacco on smoking behaviors were measured. The major effects were defined as quitting, reducing smoking and using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
After tobacco prices increased, 3.8%, 22.8% and 5.4% of subjects quit, reduced smoking and switched to e-cigarettes. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for reducing smoking was significantly higher in subjects with a lower household income and lower education level than in those with a greater income and higher education level among current smokers. Subjects who started smoking at an older age, who smoked a smaller number of
cigarettes smoked per day and who had been exposed to anti-smoking campaigns and anti-smoking information
were more likely to reduce smoking after the price of tobacco increased. Younger subjects were less likely to reduce smoking, but they were more likely to use e-cigarettes after the price of tobacco increased. Low-income
subjects were sensitive to increases in the price of tobacco. Additional strategies are required to change the
smoking behaviors of heavy smokers. Future studies should investigate the long-term effects of increasing the
price of tobacco, especially on younger adults, on smoking behaviors.