What can be the most efficient way to reduce smoking among people? A new research has suggested that a surge in the price of cigarette by a dollar can reduce the possibility of older people smoking, by 20%.
"Older smokers have been smoking for a long time and tend to have lower rates of smoking cessation compared to younger populations, suggesting deeply entrenched behaviour that is difficult to change," said lead author Stephanie Mayne, a doctoral student at the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois.
"Our finding that increase in cigarette prices were associated with quitting smoking in the older population suggests cigarette taxes may be a particularly effective lever for behaviour change," Mayne added.
The researchers followed smokers ranging in age from 44 to 84 and stretched across six different regions. The smokers are 20% more likely to quit smoking if there was a increase in the cigarette pack prices by a dollar. Additionally, there was a 3% overall reduction in smoking risk.
However, when the data was narrowed to heavy smokers, there was a seven per cent reduction in risk. When prices increased by a dollar, heavy smokers also showed a 35 per cent reduction in the average number of cigarettes they smoked per day, compared to 19 per cent less in the overall smoking population.
"Since heavy smokers smoke more cigarettes per day initially, they may feel the impact of a price increase to a greater degree and be more likely to cut back on the number of cigarettes they smoke on a daily basis," Mayne explained.
According to the senior author on the study, the local relationship between smoking habits and cigarette prices is an understudied but important area to look at.
"Results on this topic primarily have come from population surveillance. But we had neighbourhood tobacco price data and could link that to a cohort of individuals who were followed for about 10 years," said Amy Auchincloss, PhD, Associate Professor, Dornsife School of Public Health.
Based on the results of the research published in the journal Epidemiology, increasing the prices of cigarettes seems to be a better tactic to encourage smoking cessation across ages.
(With IANS Inputs)
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