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WMJ. 2001;100(3):49-53.

Progress in reducing per capita cigarette sales in Wisconsin, 1985-1999.

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UW Department of Preventive Medicine, Madison, WI, USA.


Over the past several decades, initiatives have been undertaken both on a national and state level to reduce cigarette smoking and its resultant health consequences. We compared trends in per capita cigarette sales in Wisconsin versus other states from 1985-1999. During this time period, per capita cigarette sales declined 21% in Wisconsin, versus 26% in the United States. Although the average per capita sales in Wisconsin were less than sales in the United States in both 1985 (107 versus 122 packs per capita) and 1999 (84 versus 90 packs per capita), Wisconsin's sales have declined at a slower rate, narrowing the gap between Wisconsin and US sales. Other states, such as California and Massachusetts, with large statewide tobacco control programs had rates of decline in cigarette sales over twice the Wisconsin decline from 1985-1999. In 1985, only 10 states had lower per capita sales than Wisconsin. By 1999, 24 states had lower rates, indicating greater relative progress in reducing sales in other states. Possible explanations for the greater decline in per capita cigarette sales in other states include differences in tobacco control programs, tobacco excise tax increases, and other tobacco policy initiatives.

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