Rising cost of cigarettes may help smokers honor new years resolution to quit

More than ever, a significant number of Americans resolved to ring in a smoke-free New Year when the clock struck midnight on December 31st. Leading economic researchers say this surge can be attributed to two key factors: cigarette price hikes and smoking ban legislation, which have taken hold in numerous states across the country.

"The data are clear. Higher cigarette prices, including those resulting from cigarette excise tax increases, have led to reductions in cigarette smoking," says Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D., director of the Health Policy Center and Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Our research finds that every 10 percent increase in cigarette prices reduces the number of people who smoke by approximately two percent; and that a permanent 10 percent increase in cigarette prices would reduce the average duration of smoking by about 10 percent."

Dr. Chaloupka, whose findings have been cited in anti-smoking ballot measures in a number of states, found that reductions in smoking resulting from higher cigarette taxes are furthered when states use the revenues to fund behavioral support programs to assist quitters. Moreover, investigators note that the recent cigarette price hikes have led to significant increases in the demand for stop smoking nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as the nicotine patch, gum and lozenge, which have been shown to significantly increase a smoker's chance of quitting successfully.

"Cold turkey has about a 95 percent chance of failure," says Steven Lamm, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University. "There are safe and effective FDA-approved products like the NicoDerm CQ nicotine patch, Nicorette gum and the new Commit lozenge that can help smokers control their cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These tools, combined with support and encouragement from friends and family, have been shown to increase a smoker's chances of quitting successfully."

Contact: Kristin Zajaczkowski
Porter Novelli

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