The Impact of Prices and Taxes on the Use of Tobacco Products in Latin America and the Caribbean

We examined the impact of tobacco prices or taxes on tobacco use in Latin America and Caribbean countries. We searched MEDLINE, EconLit, LILACS, unpublished literature, 6 specialty journals, and review references. We calculated pooled price elasticities using random-effects models.

The 32 studies we examined found that cigarette prices have a negative and statistically significant effect on cigarette consumption. A change in price is associated with a less than proportional change in the quantity of cigarettes demanded. In most Latin American countries, own-price elasticity for cigarettes is likely below  −0.5  (pooled elasticities, short-run: −0.31; 95% confidence interval = −0.39, −0.24; long-run: −0.43; 95% CI = −0.51, −0.35).

Tax increases effectively reduce cigarette use. Lack of studies using household- or individual-level data limits research’s policy relevance.


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