A comprehensive examination of own- and cross-price elasticities of tobacco and nicotine replacement products in the U.S.

Abstract: While much is known about the demand for cigarettes, research on the demand for non-cigarette tobacco products and the cross-price impacts among those products is limited. This study aims to comprehensively examine the own- and cross-price elasticities of demand for tobacco and nicotine replacement products (NRPs) in the U.S. We analyzed market-level quarterly data on sales and prices of 15 different types of tobacco products and NRPs from 2007 to 2014, compiled from retail store scanner data. Fixed effects models with controls were used to estimate their own-price elasticities and cross-price elasticities between cigarettes and the other 14 products. Our results show that, except for cigars, the demand for combustible tobacco products was generally elastic, with the estimated own-price elasticity >1 (10% increase in prices reduces sales by >10%). The own-price elasticities for smokeless tobacco products were smaller than those for combustible tobacco, although not always significant. The demand for electronic cigarettes and NRPs was found to be elastic. The cross-price elasticities with respect to cigarettes were positive for cigarillos, little cigars, loose tobacco, pipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes and NRPs, but only results for little cigars, loose tobacco, pipe tobacco, and dissolvable lozenges were consistently significant. Our findings suggest demand for tobacco products and NRPs was responsive to changes in their own prices. Substitutions or positive cross-price impacts between cigarettes and certain other products exist. It is important that tobacco control policies take into account both own- and cross-price impacts among tobacco products and NRTs.