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Am J Public Health. 2014 Oct;104(10):1844-50. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302069. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

Reducing tobacco use and access through strengthened minimum price laws.

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Ian McLaughlin and Anne Pearson are with ChangeLab Solutions, Oakland, CA. Kurt Ribisl is with the Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Elisa Laird-Metke is with the School of Law, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA.


Higher prices reduce consumption and initiation of tobacco products. A minimum price law that establishes a high statutory minimum price and prohibits the industry's discounting tactics for tobacco products is a promising pricing strategy as an alternative to excise tax increases. Although some states have adopted minimum price laws on the basis of statutorily defined price "markups" over the invoice price, existing state laws have been largely ineffective at increasing the retail price. We analyzed 3 new variations of minimum price laws that hold great potential for raising tobacco prices and reducing consumption: (1) a flat rate minimum price law similar to a recent enactment in New York City, (2) an enhanced markup law, and (3) a law that incorporates both elements.

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