African countries have among the lowest excise taxes in the world. This paper provides new evidence on the association between cigarette prices and youth smoking in 16 African countries.
We use Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) cross-country data from approximately 67 500 participants. The relationship between prices and youth smoking in Africa is estimated using probit models for smoking participation and generalized linear models for conditional cigarette demand. Each model is estimated using local-brand and foreign-brand cigarette prices.
Higher prices are associated with lower demand across African countries, for both smoking prevalence and the intensity of cigarette consumption by smokers. The estimated price elasticity of participation is -0.70 [95% CI: –1.28; –0.12] for local-brand cigarettes and –0.71 [95% CI: –0.98; –0.44] for foreign-brand cigarettes. The price elasticity of conditional cigarette demand is −0.44 [95% CI: -0.76; -0.12] for local brands, and −0.75 [95% CI: -0.96; -0.53] for foreign brands. The total price elasticity of demand for youth in our sample is –1.14 for local brands and –1.46 for foreign brands.
Higher cigarette prices significantly decrease the likelihood of smoking and decrease the intensity of cigarette consumption among African youths. Increases in the excise tax that increase the retail price of cigarettes will play an important role in reducing youth tobacco use on the continent. Governments are encouraged to increase excise taxes in order to improve public health