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Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and the Greater Cincinnati region.2 Reducing tobacco use is the single most important strategy that would improve health outcomes in our region. According to the 2017 Community Health Status Survey (CHSS), 23% of adults in our region are current smokers. While smoking rates overall have decreased significantly in recent years, there has been little or no change among low-income populations. According to the CHSS, 46% of people earning less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) report they are current smokers. This compares with 33% earning between 100% and 200% FPG, and 15% of people earning more than 200% FPG.3
The Surgeon General concluded that raising the retail price of cigarettes and other tobacco products is an effective tobacco control intervention.2 There is sufficient evidence that increasing the price of tobacco products prevents initiation of tobacco use, promotes cessation and reduces prevalence of tobacco use among youth and young adults. Populations most responsive to tobacco price increases are youth, low-income adults and pregnant women.2
In order to impact health outcomes, price increases must be significant, at least $1 per pack of cigarettes with equalized increases for other tobacco products. If price increases are small, tobacco companies can adjust prices through discounts to reduce the impact of the increase, resulting in less public health impact. Price increases can be derived from taxing, minimum pricing laws or bans on price discounting. Equalized pricing across tobacco products helps to discourage initiation of all tobacco products among youth and current users and dissuades current users from switching to a cheaper tobacco product.
Therefore, Interact for Health believes that state entities should enact policies that raise the price of tobacco products at a minimum of $1 per pack of cigarettes with equalized increases for other tobacco products.
1 The term tobacco includes, but is not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, vaping, hookah, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA: HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014, https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/index.html
3 Interact for Health. (2017). Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey. Cincinnati, OH.