A new study has revealed that smokers are likely to quit the unhealthy habit of smoking with just a small hike in cigarette prices.
The study included smokers who ranged in age from 44 to 84.
In addition to finding that current smokers were 20 percent more likely to quit smoking when pack prices went up by a dollar.
Researchers found that there was a 3% overall reduction in smoking risk.
When the data was narrowed to heavy smokers, smoking more than half a pack a day, there was a 7% reduction in risk.
When prices increased heavily, those sampled showed a 35% reduction in the average smoked in a day.
While the research focused on older smokers, the price change would have the same effect on the younger population.
The research claimed smoking bans in bars and restaurants didn’t affect smoking behaviour.
“Our finding that increases in cigarette prices were associated with quitting smoking in the older population suggests that cigarette taxes may be a particularly effective lever for behavior change,” said lead author Stephanie Mayne, who was a doctoral student at Drexel University in the US at the time of the study and is now at Northwestern.
“Since heavy smokers smoke more cigarettes per day initially, they may feel the impact of a price increase to a greater degree and be more likely to cut back on the number of cigarettes they smoke on a daily basis,” Mayne said.
Mayne explained that older adult smokers have been smokers for a long time and are less likely to quit smoking compared with younger populations. The smoking behavior in this age group of smokers is deeply entrenched and difficult to change.
Based on results from this study, raising cigarette prices appears to be a better strategy for encouraging smoking cessation across older ages.
The researchers believe that increasing the tax on cigarettes would also encourage more smokers to quit.
The study was published in the journal Epidemiology.