An analysis of purchase price of legal and illicit cigarettes in urban retail environments in 14 low- and middle-income countries

Jennifer Brown, Kevin Welding, Joanna E. Cohen, Rajeev Cherukupalli, Carmen Washington, Jacqueline Ferguson, Katherine Clegg Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background/Aims: To estimate and compare price differences between legal and illicit cigarettes in 14 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Design: A cross-sectional census of all packs available on the market was purchased. Setting: Cigarette packs were purchased in formal retail settings in three major cities in each of 14 LMIC: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. Participants: A total of 3240 packs were purchased (range = 58 packs in Egypt to 505 in Russia). Packs were categorized as ‘legal’ or ‘illicit’ based on the presence of a health warning label from the country of purchase and existence of a tax stamp; 2468 legal and 772 illicit packs were in the analysis. Measurements: Descriptive statistics stratified by country, city and neighborhood socio-economic status were used to explore the association between price and legal status of cigarettes. Findings: The number of illicit cigarettes in the sample setting was small (n < 5) in five countries (Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia) and excluded from analysis. In the remaining nine countries, the median purchase price of legal cigarettes ranged from US$0.32 in Pakistan (n = 72) to US$3.24 in Turkey (n = 242); median purchase price of illicit cigarettes ranged from US$0.80 in Ukraine (n = 14) to US$3.08 in India (n = 41). The difference in median price between legal and illicit packs as a percentage of the price of legal packs ranged from 32% in Philippines to 455% in Bangladesh. Median purchase price of illicit cigarette packs was higher than that of legal cigarette packs in six countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam). Median purchase price of illicit packs was lower than that of legal packs in Turkey, Ukraine and China. Conclusions: The median purchase price of illicit cigarettes is higher than that of legal cigarette packs in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia appear to have few or no illicit cigarettes for purchase from formal, urban retailers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1854-1860
Number of pages7
JournalAddiction
Volume112
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Cigarette price
  • countries
  • developing
  • economics
  • illicit cigarettes
  • tobacco control
  • tobacco products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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