Cigarette Price Hike Would Provide More Gains for the Poor

More average life years gained from cessation, and more treatment costs averted for poorest 20 percent
More average life years gained from cessation, and more treatment costs averted for poorest 20 percent

HealthDay News — An increase in the market prices of cigarettes would provide more health and financial gains to the poorest 20% of the population, according to a study published online April 11 in The BMJ.

Sujata Mishra, from the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto, and colleagues examined the impact of a 50% increase in market prices of cigarettes in a model including 500 million male smokers from 13 middle-income countries.

The researchers found that a 50% increase in cigarette prices would lead to about 450 million years of life gained from smoking cessation. Compared with men in the top income group, men in the bottom income group (poorest 20% of the population) would gain 6.7 times more life years (155 versus 23 million). For each smoker in the bottom income group, the average life years gained from cessation was 5.1 times that of the top group (1.46 versus 0.23 years). The bottom income group would avert 4.6 times more treatment costs than the top income group ($46 versus $10 billion). While paying only 10% of the additional taxes, the bottom income group would get 31% of the life years saved and 29 percent each of the averted disease costs and catastrophic health expenditures.

"Higher prices of cigarettes provide more health and financial gains to the poorest 20 percent than to the richest 20 percent of the population," the authors write.

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