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Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and the 2018 Kentucky tobacco tax increase

Jan 10, 2019


The 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked Kentucky adults about their experience with e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, as well as whether the 2018 Kentucky tobacco tax increase influenced their cigarette smoking.

KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

5 in 10 adult smokers influenced by higher tax

On July 1, 2018, Kentucky House Bill 366 went into effect. As part of the law, the excise tax on cigarettes was increased by 50 cents a pack, from 60 cents to $1.10.1 KHIP asked Kentucky smokers whether the tax increase had caused them to change or consider changing their smoking behavior. Five in 10 Kentucky smokers (50%) reported that they had taken at least one action as a result of the increased tax. Four in 10 smokers reported that they had begun smoking fewer cigarettes (39%), 1 in 3 reported that they had considered quitting smoking (33%), and more than 1 in 4 reported that they had made an attempt to quit smoking (26%).

1 in 4 adults currently smoke cigarettes

KHIP 2018 found that nearly 1 in 4 Kentucky adults (23%) were current cigarette smokers. Nationally, 17% of adults were current cigarette smokers in 2017.2 Kentucky adults earning 138% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG)3 were more likely to be current smokers (35%) than adults earning more than 138% FPG (16%). KHIP asked smokers, “Is your usual cigarette brand menthol or non-menthol?” About 3 in 10 Kentucky adults who smoke (28%) reported that their usual cigarette brand was menthol, and 7 in 10 (72%) reported their usual brand was non-menthol.4

1 in 4 Kentucky adults have tried an e-cigarette

KHIP also asked Kentucky adults about their use of e-cigarettes.An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that produces an aerosol by heating a liquid. This liquid usually contains nicotine – the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products – as well as flavorings and other chemicals.Using an e-cigarette is often referred to as “vaping.” In 2018, about 1 in 4 Kentucky adults (24%) reported that they had ever tried  an e-cigarette. This percentage has remained about the same since KHIP first asked this question in 2016. Younger adults have consistently been more likely than older adults to have ever tried an e-cigarette. (See graph below.)

KHIP asked adults who had tried an e-cigarette, “Do you now use e-cigarettes or other electronic ‘vaping’ products every day, some days or not at all?” Among adults who had tried an e-cigarette, 3 in 10 (32%) now use them every day or some days. Overall, 8% of all Kentucky adults reported using e-cigarettes some days or every day. Nationally, 3% of adults were current e-cigarette users in 2017.7

1. See and

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018, from
3. In 2017, 138% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a family of four was $33,948.

4. Menthol cigarettes are cigarettes that contain a mint flavoring.

5. KHIP asked, “Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to inhale vaporized liquid. The vaporized liquid often contains
nicotine, and some have flavorings and other ingredients. Users of e-cigarettes sometimes refer to the activity as ‘vaping,’ as opposed to smoking. Have you ever used an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette?”

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). About electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes). Retrieved from

7.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018, from

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