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Estimating Demand for Alternatives to Cigarettes with Online Purchase Tasks

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Objectives: To explore how advertising affects demand for cigarettes and potential substitutes, including snus, dissolvable tobacco, and medicinal nicotine. Methods: A Web-based experiment randomized 1062 smokers to see advertisements for alternative nicotine products or soft drinks, then complete a series of purchase tasks, which were used to estimate demand elasticity, peak consumption, and cross-price elasticity (CPE) for tobacco products. Results: Lower demand elasticity and greater peak consumption were seen for cigarettes compared to all alternative products (p < .05). CPE did not differ across the alternative products (p < .03). Seeing relevant advertisements was not significantly related to demand. Conclusions: These findings suggest significantly lower demand for alternative nicotine sources among smokers than previously revealed.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA. 2: Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA 3: Department of Economics, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA, USA 4: Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA 5: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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