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Effects of a Cigarette Price Increase on the Smoking Behavior of Smokers and Non-smokers

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Objectives: The government of the Republic of Korea (ie, South Korea) drastically increased cigarette prices by 80% in 2015. The exogenous regulatory change provided us with an opportunity to examine the effects of the cigarette price increase on smoking behavior. Methods: Utilizing 2011-2016 balanced panel data from the Korea Health Panel (3693 participants each year), we divided the sample into smokers and non-smokers and traced each individual's smoking behavior. Results: Overall smoking prevalence (OR = 0.476, p < .01) and daily cigarette consumption (IRR = 0.737, p < .01) were reduced after the cigarette price increase. However, although the cigarette price increase was inversely related to smokers' cigarette consumption (OR = 0.799, p < .01), we found no statistically significant impact on smoking cessation among smokers. On the other hand, the cigarette price increase was associated with decreased smoking onset among non-smokers (OR = 0.172, p < .01) and reduced cigarette consumption after they started smoking (IRR = 0.279, p < .01). Conclusions: The reduction in smoking prevalence after the increase of the cigarette price resulted from the fact that non-smokers did not start smoking rather than from a decrease in the number of existing smokers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Daehwan Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Dong-A University, Busan, South Korea 2: Hojin Park, Doctoral Student, Department of Economics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, United States;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2021

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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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