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Open Access Evaluating an Excise Tax on Electronic Cigarette Consumption: Early Results

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Objectives: Minnesota simultaneously raised taxes on cigarettes and e-cigarettes in 2013. This is the first study to report the effect of a tax increase on e-cigarette sales. Methods: Sales data for convenience stores in Minneapolis (case) and St. Louis (control) were obtained from the Nielsen Company, for 2012-2013, aggregated in 4-week time periods. We compared change over time in sales of e-cigarettes in Minneapolis versus St. Louis, where tobacco and e-cigarette taxes were unaltered. Results: Adjusted sales of e-cigarettes over time in the 2 markets were similar before the tax increases. Minneapolis prices of the 4 most popular products increased a mean of 21.44% after the tax increase. Immediately post-tax, there was a significant increase in total sales in Minneapolis (p < .01). Sales remained above expected values for one additional time period, before dropping significantly below expected values for the 4 final time periods. Sales increases were driven by gains for Blu e-cigarettes, then owned by Lorillard, compared to sales decreases for NJOY products. Conclusions: In Minnesota, simultaneous tax increases on cigarettes and e-cigarettes were associated with a short-term spike in e-cigarette consumption at convenience stores, followed by a decline.

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Keywords: CONSUMPTION; E-CIGARETTES; POLICY; PRICE; SALES; TAX

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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