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Tob Induc Dis. 2013 Oct 18;11(1):21. doi: 10.1186/1617-9625-11-21.

Sharp changes in tobacco products affordability and the dynamics of smoking prevalence in various social and income groups in Ukraine in 2008-2012.

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Institute for Strategic Research of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine.



To curb the tobacco epidemic, successful implementation of tobacco control measures should take into account how specific demographic groups react to particular policies. In 2005-2010, Ukraine experienced a sharp decline in smoking prevalence. In 2008-2010, several excise tax hikes combined with the economic recession resulted in a sharp reduction of tobacco product affordability, but in 2011-2012 tax increases were rather moderate. The aim of the current research was to investigate how smoking prevalence in various gender, social and income groups in Ukraine changed in response to differing tobacco taxation policies in 2008-2012.


The State Statistics Service of Ukraine annual household surveys among the population aged 12 years and older, which include questions about smoking, were used. The aggregate data from the annual household surveys datasets of 2008-2012 were analyzed.


The decline in general smoking prevalence was much steeper in 2008-2010 - 3.2 percentage points in two years, while in two subsequent years it constituted only 0.6 percentage points. Smoking prevalence declined in all age, social, and income groups in 2008-2010. However, in 2011-2012 smoking prevalence continued to decline mainly among young and poor people, while some older and more affluent smokers apparently relapsed to smoking.


Short-term and long-term price responsiveness of tobacco demand by socioeconomic status of population groups in low--and middle--income countries like Ukraine could be rather different for poor and more affluent people. Tobacco excise tax hikes have great potential in reducing smoking prevalence, especially in young and less affluent people, however they should also be supported by effective and available smoking cessation services.

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