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Tobacco price and use following California Proposition 56 tobacco tax increase.

Abstract

Background

California Proposition 56 increased cigarette excise tax by $2 per pack with equivalent increases on non-cigarette tobacco products. We estimated the changes in cigarette price, cigarette use, and non-cigarette use following the implementation of Proposition 56 in California in 2017.

Methods

Seven waves of Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) 2011-2019 data were used to obtain state-level aggregate self-reported outcomes, including cigarette price per pack, current and daily cigarette use, cigarette consumption per day, and current and daily use of non-cigarette tobacco products (hookah, pipe, cigar, and smokeless tobacco). A modified version of a synthetic control method was used to create a "synthetic" California that best resembled pre-policy sociodemographic characteristics and outcome trends in California while correcting time-invariant pre-policy differences. Various sensitivity analyses were also conducted.

Results

The implementation of Proposition 56 was associated with an increase in self-reported cigarette price per pack in California ($1.844, 95%CI: $0.153, $3.534; p = 0.032). No evidence suggested that Proposition 56 was associated with the changes in the prevalence of current or daily cigarette use, cigarette consumption per day, or the prevalence of current or daily use of non-cigarette tobacco products.

Conclusion

Most of the cigarette tax increase following Proposition 56 in California was passed on to consumers. There is a lack of evidence that the implementation of Proposition 56 was associated with the changes in the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products such as hookah, pipe, cigar, and smokeless tobacco.

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