The Impact of Tax and Smoke-Free Air Policy Changes

This report summarizes the progress made over the past two decades in raising cigarette and other tobacco product excise taxes and in adopting and strengthening policies that limit smoking in public places and private worksites. The evolution of these policies is discussed and the evidence of their effectiveness in reducing tobacco use is reviewed.

Using this information, we use the SimSmoke tobacco-control policy simulation model to estimate the impact of changes in tobacco-control policy, especially taxation and smoke-free air policies, on the number of persons who smoke and on premature deaths caused by smoking. We use 1993 as our baseline, given the available data and timing of significant governmental and nongovernmental programs designed to reduce tobacco use through policy and media advocacy, building the evidence base for tobacco control, and other interventions (e.g., RWJF’s efforts, the ASSIST program of the National Cancer Institute [NCI], the IMPACT program of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). We assess the impact of state and federal cigarette tax changes and state smoke-free air policies adopted through mid-2009. Finally, we also estimate the impact of the significant price increase that followed the Master Settlement Agreement in November 1998.