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Cigarette taxes could cause higher cigar and chewing tobacco among adolescents

Chewing Tobacco and Cigar Use Could Increase With High Cigarette Taxes

According to a study of nearly 500,000 adolescents published in the journal BMC Public Health, raising cigarette taxes could increase the popularity of cigars and smokeless tobacco among this demographic.

Carried out by researchers at Boston College in the US, raising cigarette taxes by 10% could cause a 1% spike in the use of chewing tobacco and cigars among young adolescents.

Elsewhere in the study, researchers found that chewing tobacco and cigar taxes had no affect on the respective use of these products.

“While increasing cigarette taxes has been a major policy driver to decrease smoking, including adolescent smoking, taxes on other tobacco products have received less attention. This research found that higher state cigarette taxes are associated with adolescents’ use of cheaper, alternative tobacco products such as chewing tobacco and cigars,” by the author of the study, Dr Summer Hawkins.

There could also be a 1% increase in the use of chewing tobacco and smokeless tobacco products if there’s a smoking ban inside restaurants.

Dr Hawkins added: “Our findings suggest that reducing adolescent tobacco use will require comprehensive tobacco control policies that are applied equally to and inclusive of all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and cigars. If taxes on alternative tobacco products are not increased in line with cigarette taxes, some of the decrease in cigarette use may be adolescents switching to other products. This would not be considered a public health success, as health risks from alternative tobacco products are the same or greater than cigarettes.”

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