Did You Know That Cheap Cigarettes Are Even Cheaper In Neighborhoods With More Children And Asian or Pacific Islanders?

Retail marketing surveillance research highlights concerns about lower-priced cigarettes in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of racial/ethnic minorities, but focuses almost exclusively on premium brands. A recently published study (Nicotine & Tobacco Research, April 2017) examined neighborhood variation in prices for the cheapest cigarettes and a popular brand of cigarillos in a large statewide sample of licensed tobacco retailers in a low-tax state. A census of eligible licensed tobacco retailers in randomly selected zip codes (n=7,393 stores) was conducted in 2013. Two prices were requested: the cheapest cigarette pack regardless of brand and a single, flavored Swisher Sweets cigarillo.

Findings included:

  • Approximately 84% of stores sold cigarettes for less than $5 and a Swisher Sweets cigarillo was available for less than $1 in 74% of stores that sold the brand.
  • The cheapest cigarettes cost even less in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of school-age residents and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

The authors concluded that neighborhood disparities in the price of the cheapest combustible tobacco products are a public health threat. The study results underscore the need for policies that reduce availability and increase price of combustible tobacco products, particularly in states with low, stagnant tobacco taxes.

Click HERE to read the abstract

Source: Henriksen et al. (2017). Neighborhood variation in the price of cheap tobacco products in California: Results from Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, April 22, doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx089. [Epub ahead of print]

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