Cigarette Taxes and Smoking During Pregnancy

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 91, no. 11, Nov. 2001, p. 1851-1856

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2000

by Jeanne S. Ringel, William N. Evans

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OBJECTIVES: This study sought to estimate how changes in state cigarette excise taxes affect the smoking behavior of pregnant women. METHODS: Detailed information about mothers and their pregnancy was used to examine the impact of taxes on the propensity of pregnant women to smoke. The 1989 to 1995 Natality Detail Files were used in conducting analyses to assess the impact of taxes on smoking among different subpopulations. RESULTS: Higher cigarette excise taxes reduced smoking rates among pregnant women. A tax hike of $0.55 per pack would reduce maternal smoking by about 22%. Overall, a 10% increase in price would reduce smoking rates by 7%. Estimates for subpopulations suggested that nearly all would be very responsive to tax changes, including the subpopulations with the highest smoking rates. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking rates among pregnant women are responsive to tax hikes.

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