Purchasing Cigarettes In The US -Introduction: Objective -This post examines trends in cigarette prices and corresponding purchasing patterns and explores characteristics associated with the quantity and location of cigarettes purchased by adult smokers in the USA.
Many key tobacco control policies have been implemented in order to:
(1) Reduce cigarette consumption among current smokers and
(2) Discourage tobacco consumption among non-smokers, especially the youths.
The most effective way to achieve these goals is to increase the prices of cigarettes.
The higher the price of purchasing a pack of cigarettes, the less likely it is that people will buy and consume cigarettes.
However, there are many factors that can disrupt the simple relationship between the price of cigarettes and consumption. For example, consumers can offset higher prices by purchasing cigarettes in bulk such as in cartons or in multipacks rather than as single packs. In addition, smokers can switch to lower priced cigarette brands, switch to brands offering price discounts and shop for cigarettes in locations where cigarettes are less expensive. Finally, smokers can respond to higher cigarette prices by reducing their daily intake of cigarettes or stop their cigarette consumption all together.
While not all smokers will necessarily engage in price-minimising behaviours, the steady rise in cigarette prices coupled with increasing rates of unemployment, stagnant and/or declining wages, and higher household expenses for items like gasoline and food have combined over the past several years to make cigarettes less affordable.
The purchase of cigarette cartons and the use of coupons has been on an all time increase from 2020 to 2022 as compared to single pack purchases.
Those who purchase by multipacks and cartons save an average of $5.53 and $10.63, respectively. Purchases in grocery and discount stores have declined, while purchases in online tobacco stores and outlets have increased drastically.
Female, older, white smokers are more likely to purchase cigarettes by the carton or in multipacks and in locations commonly associated with tax avoidance such as online, duty free shops, Indian reservations.
Conclusion: With the recent rise in cigarette prices, smokers have begun purchasing in cartons rather than single or multipacks. Carton sales have increased, hence, purchases from grocery and discount stores have consequently declined, while an increasing number of smokers report low tax sources such as online tobacco stores as their usual purchase location for cigarettes. Nowadays, most smokers purchasing cigarettes in the US purchase them online.