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Changes in cigarette prices, affordability, and brand-tier consumption after a tobacco tax increase in Thailand: Evidence from the Global Adult Tobacco Surveys, 2009 and 2011
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    Prev Med
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    Despite the 2009 implementation of a tobacco tax increase in Thailand, smoking rates remained unchanged between 2009 and 2011. Prior evidence has linked cigarette tax increases to compensatory behaviours aimed at lowering the cost of smoking, such as switching to lower-priced cigarette brands. Using data from 2009 and 2011 Global Adult Tobacco Surveys in Thailand, we estimated unadjusted changes in cigarette prices paid, cigarette affordability, and consumption of cigarettes in three price categories classified as upper-, middle-, and lower-priced brand tiers (or price tertiles). We used ordered logit regression to analyse the correlates of price-tier choice and to estimate the change in price-tier consumption adjusted for demographic and region characteristics. Between 2009 and 2011, real cigarette prices increased, but the affordability of cigarettes remained unchanged overall. There was a significant reduction in the consumption of cigarette brands in the top price-tier overall, accompanied by increases in the consumption of brands in the bottom and middle price-tiers, depending on the region. Adjusted estimates from the logit models indicate that, on average, the proportion of smokers selecting brands from upper- and middle price-tiers decreased while consumption of lower price-tier brands increased during the study period. The estimated shifts in consumption from more expensive to less expensive cigarette brands and the overall lack of change in cigarette affordability in Thailand between 2009 and 2011 are both factors that may have contributed to the observed lack of change in smoking rates after the 2009 tax increase.

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