2001). In particular, Harris and Chan (1999) demonstrate declining responsiveness to price with age among people 15–29 years old. Recent research also demonstrates that the effect of price on youth and young-adult smoking occurs both directly in response to price and indirectly through response to the lower prevalence of smoking among peers (Powell et al., 2005).
Smoking initiation and tobacco use are more common among junior enlisted military personnel. Those personnel tend to be young adults who are more susceptible to tobacco pricing than older adults. Thus, tobacco-price increases in DoD commissaries and exchanges could result in marked changes in tobacco use in the military populations that use the most tobacco.
Results of several studies suggest that price increases facilitate smoking cessation. Adult smokers are more likely to attempt cessation when faced with increasing prices (Levy et al., 2005a; Reed et al., 2008), and higher prices facilitate successful smoking cessation among young adults (Tauras, 2004). However, some evidence shows that recent price increases may be less likely to affect smoking prevalence even though higher prices can lower the intensity of smoking (Sheu et al., 2004). That is true particularly in such populations as low-income people and pregnant women (Franks et al., 2007; Levy and Meara, 2006).
The evidence on whether price affects smoking initiation is somewhat mixed: some studies show that price does not affect whether youths have “ever smoked a cigarette,” and others show that price influences the initiation of smoking (Jha et al., 2006; Levy et al., 2005b; Thomas et al., 2008). The discrepancy can be reconciled when viewed in the context of research that distinguishes experimentation from established smoking. In a study of adolescents that distinguished isolated experimentation (moving from nonsmoker to having ever smoked “even a puff”) from more established smoking patterns, price had a significant effect on initiation (Emery et al., 2001). In the aggregate, the evidence is strong that higher prices lower the consumption of cigarettes along all dimensions: initiation, cessation, and intensity.
One concern with raising local or state taxes is that people can evade higher prices by purchasing tobacco through the mail, through the Internet, or by using coupons (Hyland et al., 2004). Ribisl et al. (2007) note that the number of Internet vendors and sales of tobacco products are increasing, particularly in states with high excise taxes, possibly