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Tob Control. 2017 Mar;26(2):158-163. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052874. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Combustible cigarettes cost less to use than e-cigarettes: global evidence and tax policy implications.

Author information

1
Economic and Health Policy Research, Intramural Research Department, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
2
Health Management and Policy Department, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some scholars suggest that price differences between combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes could be effective in moving current combustible smokers to e-cigarettes, which could reduce tobacco-related death and disease. Currently, in most jurisdictions, e-cigarettes are not subject to the same excise taxes as combustible cigarettes, potentially providing the category with a price advantage over combustible cigarettes. This paper tests whether e-cigarettes tax advantage has translated into a price advantage.

METHODS:

In a sample of 45 countries, the price of combustible cigarettes, disposable e-cigarettes and rechargeable cigarettes were compared.

RESULTS:

Comparable units of combustible cigarettes cost less than disposable e-cigarettes in almost every country in the sample. While the e-liquids consumed in rechargeable e-cigarettes might cost less per comparable unit than combustible cigarettes, the initial cost to purchase a rechargeable e-cigarette presents a significant cost barrier to switching from smoking to vaping.

DISCUSSION:

Existing prices of e-cigarettes are generally much higher than of combustible cigarettes. If policymakers wish to tax e-cigarettes less than combustibles, forceful policy action-almost certainly through excise taxation-must raise the price of combustible cigarettes beyond the price of using e-cigarettes.

KEYWORDS:

Economics; Electronic nicotine delivery devices; Public policy; Taxation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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