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Cigarette Prices and Smoking Prevalence After a Tobacco Tax Increase — Turkey, 2008 and 2012

May 30, 2014 / Vol. 63 / No. 21

MMWR Introduction


Smoking rates in Turkey dropped significantly following the 2010 increase in tobacco taxes. The tax increase raised the average price paid for cigarettes, making them less affordable. The reduction in smoking was substantially larger among people with lower socioeconomic status. This underscores the potential of a tobacco price increase to reduce tobacco use and to help reduce health disparities by lowering smoking prevalence at a higher rate in vulnerable populations.

Raising the price of tobacco products has been shown to reduce tobacco consumption in the United States and other high-income countries, and evidence of this effect has been growing for low- and middle-income countries as well. Turkey is a middle-income country where smoking rates have historically been among the highest in the world. This report describes a considerable shift in smoking behavior, occurring even when the baseline levels of tobacco use and addiction in the population are relatively high. Turkey’s experience with cigarette price change may help policy makers in other low- and middle-income countries, where the majority of tobacco-related deaths are expected to occur in the near future.