Jul. 18 1996
Washington, DC - Raising the price on a pack of cigarettes has three times the impact on decreasing teen smoking than on adult smoking reductions, according to a new study being published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Findings from the new study, "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Youth Smoking," were released today by THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. The study finds that a 75 cent increase on a pack of cigarettes during the study's survey years of 1992-94 would have cut overall youth smoking in half, while the number of underage smokers would have fallen by almost 25 percent. This increased price, in the form of an excise tax on cigarettes, would have reduced the number of smokers ages 12-18 by 1.6 million and would have decreased smoking-related premature deaths by 400,000, according to the study. The new study comes to light as three states consider legislation raising cigarette prices by 25 to 30 cents per pack. The Massachusetts legislature has passed a health care bill containing a 25-cents-per-pack cigarette excise tax increase. Gov. William Weld has said he will veto the measure. Revenue generated by increased cigarette prices in the state, which Weld is opposing, would be used to fund health care for uninsured children and for prescription drugs for senior citizens. When Massachusetts increased its tobacco tax by 25 cents In 1993, tobacco sales in the state fell 15 percent--four times the national average. The New Jersey legislature is currently debating a bill to increase the excise tax on cigarettes by 25 cents per pack, while Oregon residents have proposed a ballot initiative that would add 30 cents to the cost of a pack of cigarettes. "This study proves that higher cigarette prices can save hundreds of thousands of lives, and stop millions of kids from ever starting to smoke," says William Novelli, president of THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS. The study by Frank J. Chaloupka and Michael Grossman used data from 1992, 1993 and 1994 surveys of ***and 12" graders conducted by the University of Michigan's "Monitoring the Future Project." Chaloupka, lead author on the study, is associate professor in the department of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Grossman is director of the Health Economics Research Program at the Economic Bureau of Economic Research, and a distinguished professor of economics at the City University of New York.