This research project explores the impact of tobacco pricing and packaging strategies on smoking onset, smoking cessation, tobacco consumption, and equity in five middle-income countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, South Africa, and Vietnam. Overwhelming international evidence shows that higher cigarette prices and packaging regulation reduce tobacco use, with greater reductions among young people and those from more socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. However, while internationally recommended approaches to tobacco control have been implemented worldwide, the application and impact of these approaches is actually unique in every country. Each offers its own specific combination of cigarette taxation, packaging regulation, and consumption trends. The comparative approach of this project will maximize the global generalizability of its findings, given the diversity of contexts and experiences that the five countries offer.
The project links national survey data from a large number of existing datasets to price data obtained from national statistical agencies, private research firms, and when available, self-reported prices and unit values (i.e. ratio of household expenditure on particular tobacco product to the quantity consumed). Using this data, the project examines the impact, influence, and effects of:
- tobacco prices on smoking onset, smoking cessation, and household-level expenditures on tobacco products, tobacco use participation, and tobacco consumption
- socioeconomic status, sex, and age on the relationship between tobacco prices and tobacco use
- taxes on the retail price of tobacco products
- cigarette packaging, including plain packaging, on various sub-populations
- changes in tobacco pricing and taxation policies on tax revenue, use, and health
It will also explore socioeconomic inequalities in smoking and the contribution of smoking to socioeconomic-related inequalities in health, as well as the impacts of recent country-specific changes in taxation and packaging policies and industry behaviour.
HealthBridge Vietnam leads the research in Vietnam.
Across the five countries, the project will generate a clearer picture of:
- The impact of tobacco prices on smoking onset and smoking cessation
- The effects of tobacco prices on household-level tobacco expenditures and consumption
- The influence of socioeconomic status, sex, and age on the relationship between tobacco prices and use
- The effects of taxes on the retail price of tobacco products
- Socioeconomic inequalities in smoking and the contribution of smoking to socioeconomic-related inequalities in health
- The impact of cigarette packaging on tobacco use among various-sub populations
Taken together, the findings from this research can be used in the optimal design of tobacco tax and packaging policies in middle-income countries.