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Increasing Tobacco Use Cessation: Increasing the Unit Price of Tobacco Products

(1999 Archived Review)

This is a summary of an archived systematic review and Community Preventive Services Task Force finding. Read a summary of the updated review and related Task Force finding.

These interventions increase the unit price for tobacco products through municipal, state, or federal legislation that raises the excise tax on these products. Such increases make the continued use of tobacco products less attractive to users, and in several states, they have provided revenue for comprehensive tobacco use prevention and control programs.

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends interventions that include increasing the unit price for tobacco products based on strong evidence of their effectiveness in:

  • Reducing population consumption of tobacco products
  • Reducing tobacco use initiation
  • Increasing tobacco cessation

Task Force Finding

Results from the Systematic Review

Seventeen studies qualified for the review of this intervention.

  • For interventions that included at least a provider reminder system and a provider education program:
    • The most common measurement described was the effect of every 1% increase in tobacco product price on the percentage change in consumption (price elasticity of demand).
    • Findings from ten aggregated studies suggested that a 10% increase in product price would result in a 4.1% decrease in consumption.
  • Overall, the included studies pointed to a reduction in tobacco use when all factors were taken into account by increasing the unit price of tobacco products.
  • The included studies reflected evaluations of the effect of increased tobacco price on tobacco use in the states of California, Oregon, Massachusetts, other western states in addition to national-level evaluations and examples from other countries including Canada, the UK, Austria, Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand.

These findings were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Supporting Materials


Hopkins DP, Briss PA, Ricard CJ. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 6.38 MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):16–66.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations regarding interventions to reduce tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 1.46 kB] Am J Prev Med 2001;20(2S):10–5.

Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Tobacco. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 3.63 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:3-79.

Read other Community Guide publications about Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in our library.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Increasing tobacco use cessation: increasing unit price of tobacco products (1999 archived review). Last updated: Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: February 1999