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Can you refuse these discounts? An evaluation of the use and price discount impact of price-related promotions among US adult smokers by cigarette manufacturers
  1. Ralph S Caraballo,
  2. Xu Wang,
  3. Xin Xu
  1. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ralph S Caraballo; rfc8{at}


Objectives The raising unit price of cigarette has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of reducing cigarette consumption and increasing rates of successful quitting. However, researchers have shown that price-sensitive smokers have used a variety of strategies to mitigate the effect of the rising price of cigarettes on their smoking habits. In particular, 23–34% of adult smokers in the US use cheaper brands, and 18–55% use coupons or promotions. Little is known about the discount use by type of brands. As such, the main purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the uses and price discount effects of these price-related discounts by manufacturers and major brands.

Setting An analysis based on the cross-sectional 2009–2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey (NATS).

Participants 11 766 current smokers aged 18 or above in the USA.

Primary outcome measures Price-related discount was defined as smokers who used coupons, rebates, buy-one-get-one-free, two-for-one or any other special promotions for their last cigarettes purchase.

Results The use of price-related discounts and associated price impact vary widely by cigarette manufacturer and brand. Approximately one of three Camel, one of four Marlboro and one of eight Newport smokers used price-related discounts on their latest cigarette purchases. The average price reductions of discounts offered by Philip Morris (PM) or R.J. Reynolds (RJR) were around 29 cents per pack while that of Lorillard (Newport only) was 24 cents per pack. Cigarette brands that provided significant per pack price reductions include: PM Marlboro (28 cents), RJR brand Camel (41 cents), Doral (50 cents), Kool (73 cents) and Salem (80 cents), and Lorillard Newport (24 cents).

Conclusions Policies that decrease price-minimisation strategies will benefit public health.

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Economics
  • Public Health

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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