Higher cigarette taxes and prices are effective in promoting cessation among adult smokers (DHHS, 1990, 2004; CDC, 2000; Tauras and Chaloupka, 2001; Tauras, 2004; Ranson et al., 2002; Tauras and Chaloupka, 2003; Tauras et al., 2005).
Increased cessation is critical for achieving short-run reductions in the public health and economic consequences caused by smoking (DHHS, 1990, 2004). Most smokers have tried to quit smoking at least once, and nearly half attempt to quit each year; most require multiple attempts before successfully quitting (CDC, 2000). Higher cigarette taxes and prices significantly increase current smokers interest in quitting.
One recent study by Tauras and Chaloupka (2001), for example, found that a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices increased the probability of a quit attempt by between 6 and 9 percent among young adult smokers, with an even larger effect on those who were more regular smokers. In a follow-up study that allowed for relapse among some who tried to quit, Tauras (2004) concluded that a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices raised the probability of successful cessation by 3.5 percent. These findings are consistent with other economic research studies, which have reported that higher cigarette prices lower the prevalence of smoking among adults, and reduce the number of years the average smoker smokes. Ranson et al. (2002) concluded that cigarette tax increases are a highly cost-effective intervention for promoting smoking cessation.
Other recent research demonstrates that higher cigarette taxes and prices increase the demand for cessation products and services. For example, Tauras and Chaloupka (2003) and Tauras et al. (2005) found that higher cigarette prices increase sales of nicotine-replacement products, including nicotine gum and nicotine patches; a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices was found to result in a 7.5 percent increase in sales of such products. Other research reported that calls to state Quitlines go up following the implementation of state cigarette excise tax hikes.