Send to

Choose Destination
Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 Oct;18(10):1973-1980. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw109. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

Prices and E-Cigarette Demand: Evidence From the European Union.

Author information

Economic and Health Policy Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA.
Department of Economics, and Health Policy Center, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.



Many European Union (EU) Member States have expressed the need for EU legislation to clarify the issue of e-cigarette taxation, but the economic evidence to inform creation of such policies has been lacking. To date, only one study-on the United States only-has examined responsiveness of e-cigarette demand to price changes.


We used 2011-2014 pooled time-series data on e-cigarette sales, as well as e-cigarette and cigarette prices for six EU markets (Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). We utilized static and dynamic fixed-effects models to estimate the own and cross-price elasticity of demand for e-cigarettes. In a separate model for Sweden, we examined the effects of snus prices on e-cigarette sales.


Based on static models, every 10% increase in e-cigarette prices is associated with a drop in e-cigarettes sales of approximately 8.2%, while based on dynamic models, the drop is 2.7% in the short run and 11.5% in the long run. Combustible cigarette prices are positively associated with sales of e-cigarettes. Snus prices are positively associated with sales of e-cigarettes in Sweden.


Our results indicate that the sales of e-cigarettes are responsive to price changes, which suggests that excise taxes can help governments to mitigate an increase in e-cigarette use. E-cigarettes and regular cigarettes are substitutes, with higher cigarette prices being associated with increased e-cigarette sales. Making combustible cigarettes more expensive compared to e-cigarettes could be effective in moving current combustible smokers to e-cigarettes, which might have positive health effects.


This study is an exploratory analysis of the issues around e-cigarette taxation in Europe. Our results suggest that taxation is a measure that could potentially address the concerns of both opponents and proponents of e-cigarettes: taxes on e-cigarettes could be used to raise prices so as to deter e-cigarette initiation by never users, while concomitant greater tax increases on regular cigarettes could incentivize switching from combustible products to e-cigarettes. The estimates from our models suggest that e-cigarette demand is possibly more responsive to price than cigarette demand. Policymakers who consider implementing excise taxes on e-cigarettes should take this difference in price responsiveness of demand for these two products under consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center