Higher cigarette taxes may increase use of chewing tobacco and cigars in adolescents

February 14, 2018, BioMed Central
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Raising cigarette taxes to combat smoking may increase the use of cigars and smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, in adolescents according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, involving 499,381 adolescents.

Researchers at Boston College, US found that a 10% increase in cigarette tax would be associated with a 1 percentage point increase in the use of smokeless among adolescent males, as well as increased use of cigars (1.5 percentage points in males and 0.7 percentage points in females). In contrast, the authors found that chewing did not seem to have an effect on smokeless tobacco use and cigar taxes appeared to have no effect on cigar use.

Dr Summer Hawkins of Boston College, the study author, said: "While increasing has been a major policy driver to decrease smoking, including adolescent smoking, taxes on other tobacco products have received less attention. This research found that higher state cigarette taxes are associated with adolescents' use of cheaper, alternative tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and cigars."

The study also found that smoke-free legislation, such as a smoking ban inside restaurants, would be associated with a 1.1 percentage point increase in smokeless tobacco use among adolescent males.

The study analysed data from 499,381 adolescents age 14-18 years from 36 US states included in the 1999-2013 Youth Risk Behaviour Survey which monitors the health risk behaviors among 9th through 12th grade students. As part of the survey, adolescents answered questions about their use of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, cigars and cigarettes during the last 30 days. The authors linked state to each adolescent based on the year the survey was completed. Mathematical models were conducted to assess whether changes in taxes and smoke-free legislation were associated with use of or cigars.

Dr Hawkins commented: "Our findings suggest that reducing tobacco use will require comprehensive tobacco control policies that are applied equally to and inclusive of all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and cigars. If taxes on alternative tobacco products are not increased in line with cigarette taxes, some of the decrease in cigarette use may be adolescents switching to other products. This would not be considered a public health success, as health risks from alternative are the same or greater than cigarettes."

The authors caution that the self-report data used in this study may underestimate the prevalence of tobacco use and that the associations between cigarette taxes and alternative tobacco product use could also have been underestimated, as adolescents that smoked cigarettes were more likely to be excluded from the analysis due to missing data. The observational nature of this study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect.

Explore further: Non-cigarette tobacco use tied to future cigarette use in teens

More information: Summer Sherburne Hawkins et al, Impact of tobacco control policies on adolescent smokeless tobacco and cigar use: a difference-in-differences approach, BMC Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-018-5063-z

Related Stories

Non-cigarette tobacco use tied to future cigarette use in teens

January 4, 2018
(HealthDay)—Non-cigarette tobacco use is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking among U.S. adolescents, according to a study published online Jan. 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.

About 20 percent of U.S. adults currently use tobacco products

November 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—About one in five U.S. adults currently uses any tobacco product, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In US, one in five use tobacco

November 9, 2017
One in five adults in the United States uses tobacco on a regular basis, and 15 percent of the population smokes cigarettes, according to US government data released Thursday.

More than one in five U.S. working adults uses tobacco

October 30, 2017
(HealthDay)—Overall, 22.1 percent of working U.S. adults currently use any form of tobacco, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Smoking losing its cool with kids, CDC says

September 22, 2016
(HealthDay)—U.S. teens seem to be losing interest in smoking cigarettes and cigars, a new federal report finds.

No significant change seen in overall smokeless tobacco use among US youths

May 14, 2013
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Declines in smoking among youths were observed from the late 1990s. "However, limited information exists on trends in smokeless ...

Recommended for you

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

Widespread declines in life expectancy across high income countries coincide with rising young adult, midlife mortality

August 15, 2018
The ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is a key contributor to the most recent declines in life expectancy, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Diets high in vegetables and fish may lower risk of multiple sclerosis

August 15, 2018
People who consume a diet high in vegetables and fish may have a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Can sleeping too much lead to an early death?

August 15, 2018
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.