The economy may be impacting cigarette sales in very opposite ways. On the one hand, the economic downturn has caused smoking rates in the U.S. to increase for the first time in 10 years. But some experts say the recent hike in cigarette taxes may be turning that around, The Lancet reported.
Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, said education and other policies combined with a changing social environment have spurred many Americans to avoid smoking to begin with or quit the habit.
“Smoking is increasingly socially unacceptable, and smoke-free policies make it harder to find places to smoke,” he said.
During a recession, Glantz noted, consumers often have less disposable income to spend on things like cigarettes. Mix that with the higher prices we’re seeing across the nation and consumers are likely to cut back.
Still, other researchers said the economic recession may actually lead to an increase in smoking in the U.S.
The most recent data from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey seems to support this theory, showing that when the recession began in early 2008, people began to smoke more.
Ultimately, only time will tell how many of the new taxes will effect sales of cigarettes across the c-store market.