Study: Raising the price of cigarettes by $1 could help smokers quit

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Study: Raising the price of cigarettes by $1 could help smokers quit

Want to quit smoking? Raising the price of cigarettes could be a solution, according to new research. 

A group of scientists from Drexel University conducted a study, which was recently published in Epidemiology, to determine how the cost of cigs could affect smokers.

To do so, they examined smokers from six different places whose ages ranged from 44 to 84 and factored in 10 years of neighborhood-level price data.

They found that current smokers were 20 percent more likely to quit smoking when pack prices went up by just a dollar. Overall, there was a 3 percent reduction risk in smoking. 

“Older adult smokers have been smoking for a long time and tend to have lower rates of smoking cessation compared to younger populations, suggesting deeply entrenched behavior that is difficult to change,” Stephanie Mayne, lead author, said in a statement

As for heavy smokers, people who went through more than half a pack a day, they were 7 percent more likely to quit. And they showed a 35 percent reduction in the average number of cigarettes they smoked in a day. 

“Since heavy smokers smoke more cigarettes per day initially, they may feel the impact of a price increase to a greater degree and be more likely to cut back on the number of cigarettes they smoke on a daily basis,” Mayne said.

Scientists did note that their study only focused on people 44 and older. Therefore, assessing younger individuals could present other variables.

Additionally, they pointed out that smoking bans in restaurants and bars did not seem to help smokers quit. While they are unsure the reason, they hope to conduct more studies to find out which method could be more effective: price hikes on cigarettes or smoking limits in public areas. 

Nevertheless, they believe their most recent research reveals a new way to help smokers put down the cigs for good. 

“Given our findings,” co-author Amy Auchincloss said, “if an additional one dollar was added to the U.S. tobacco tax, it could amount to upwards of one million fewer smokers.”

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