BMC Public Health
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Moreover, more than half of the world’s smoking-addicted population resides in the Asia-Pacific region. The reduction of tobacco consumption has thus become one of the major social policies in the region. This study investigates the effects of price increases on cigarette consumption, tobacco tax revenues and reduction in smoking-caused mortality in 22 low-income as well as middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Using panel data from the 1999–2015 Euromonitor International, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, we applied fixed effects regression models of panel data to estimate the elasticity of cigarette prices and to simulate the effect of price fluctuations.
Cigarette price elasticity was the highest for countries with a per capita Gross National Income (GNI) above US$6000 (China and Malaysia), and considerably higher for other economies in the region. The administered simulation shows that with an average annual cigarette price increase of 9.51%, the average annual cigarette consumption would decrease by 3.56%, and the average annual tobacco tax revenue would increase by 16.20%. The number of averted smoking-attributable deaths (SADs) would be the highest in China, followed by Indonesia and India. In total, over 17.96 million lives could be saved by tax increases.
Excise tax increases have a significant effect on the reduction of smoking prevalence and the number of averted smoking-attributable deaths. Middle- and upper-middle income countries would be most affected by high-taxation policies.