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Addict Behav. 2017 Oct;73:209-215. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.05.019. Epub 2017 May 22.

Behavioral change in response to a statewide tobacco tax increase and differences across socioeconomic status.

Author information

Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division, Minnesota Department of Health, 85 7th Place E. St. Paul, MN 55101, USA. Electronic address:
Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiative, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN, USA.
Department of Research Programs, ClearWay Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Division of Intramural Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Bethesda, MD, USA.



Tobacco use is a leading behavioral risk factor for morbidity and mortality, and the tobacco epidemic disproportionately affects low-socioeconomic status (SES) populations. Taxation is effective for reducing cigarette use, and it is an effective population-based policy for reducing SES-related tobacco disparities. However, progress in implementing cigarette excise taxes has stalled across the United States, and there is a dearth of research on the full spectrum of behavioral shifts that result from taxes, particularly among low-SES populations. This project documents the impact of Minnesota's $1.75 cigarette tax increase implemented in 2013.


Data come from the 2014 Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey. Descriptive analyses and Latent Class Analysis (LCA) were used to provide a typology of the tax impact.


From the LCA, six classes were identified, and 42% of respondents were classified as reporting action-oriented behavioral change related to the tax-8% reported sustained smoking abstinence. We found differential behavior change across levels of SES. Low-SES and medium/high-SES individuals were equally likely to report complete tobacco cessation, but the prevalence of daily smokers who reported action-oriented behavior without sustained cessation was nearly double for low-SES individuals.


Smokers report a range of behavioral changes in response to cigarette taxes, with differences across SES. The majority of smokers, and particularly low-SES smokers, report behavioral steps toward quitting or achieving sustained tobacco cessation in response to cigarette taxes. Complementary population-based programs geared toward assisting individuals, especially low-SES individuals, to achieve continuous tobacco cessation could increase the reach and effectiveness of cigarette taxes.


Cigarette excise taxes; Health equity; Stages-of-change perspective; Statewide tobacco taxation; Tobacco-related disparities

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