We examined Australian tobacco purchasing trends, the average self-reported price paid within each purchase type and the association between type of tobacco product purchased and participant characteristics, including quit intentions, between 2007 and 2020.
We analysed data collected from adults who smoked factory-made and/or roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes in nine waves (2007–2020) of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project Australia Survey (nsample=5452, nobservations=11 534). The main outcome measures were type of tobacco products purchased: RYO, carton, pack or pouch size and brand segment. Logistic regression, fit using generalised estimating equations, was estimated the association between the outcome and participant characteristics.
The reported price-minimising purchasing patterns increased from 2007 to 2020: any RYO (23.8–43.9%), large-sized pack (2007: 24.0% to 2016: 34.3%); shifting from large-sized to small-sized packs (2020: 37.7%), and economy brand (2007: 37.2% to 2020: 59.3%); shifting from large (2007: 55.8%) to small economy packs (2014: 15.3% to 2020: 48.1%). Individuals with a lower income, a higher nicotine dependence level and no quit intention were more likely to purchase RYO and large-sized packs.
RYO, large-sized packs and products with a low upfront cost (eg, small RYO pouches and small-sized economy brand packs) may appeal to people on low incomes. Australia’s diverse tobacco pack and pouch sizes allow the tobacco industry to influence tobacco purchases. Standardising pack and pouch sizes may reduce some price-related marketing and especially benefit people who have a low income, are highly addicted and have no quit intention.