As Countries Improve Cigarette Tax Policy, Cigarette Consumption Declines

This Policy Brief was written by Mareda Smith, Erika Siu, and Jeffrey Drope. The policy brief summarizes the findings of a working paper which examines the association between the assessment of country cigarette tax performance in the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard and cigarette consumption. The study includes 97 countries between 2014 and 2020, and finds that higher scores in the Scorecard are associated with lower cigarette consumption. Specifically, a one-point increase (on a five-point scale) is associated with an 8.5% reduction in consumption on average in all countries studied. In low- and middle-income countries, this one-point increase is associated with an even greater reduction in consumption of 9.4%. Overall, the modest improvement in scores between 2014 and 2020 reduced cigarette consumption by 3.3%. However, if countries had implemented the optimal cigarette tax policies so as to reach the highest score of 5 by 2020, cigarette consumption could have declined by an additional 17%. These findings support the effectiveness of evidence-based cigarette taxes in reducing cigarette consumption for all countries, but especially in low- and middle-income countries. 

A corresponding Working Paper can be found here.