PHRC Phase 1 (2005-2011) projects - Projects related to smoking

A2-06: A sytematic review of the effects of price on the smoking behaviour of young people

  • Principal Investigator: Nigel Rice, York

  • Duration: April 2007 - September 2008 (18 months)

Background:

Smoking prevalence among young people under the age of 25 has changed little over the last 15 years, either among 11-15 year olds or in the 16-24 age group. Across this period, the real price of cigarettes has risen sharply, including a 30% increase since 1995/6.

Aims, methods and contribution:

Against this background, the project aims to establish the influence of price and income on the smoking behaviour of young people under 25. Conventional economic theory suggests that young people are more sensitive to price, income and other incentives in determining their consumption behaviour than adults. More recent research has challenged this view, opening up a wider debate about the structure of the models tested, data used and the statistical techniques adopted in different studies. For example, research on the influence of price and taxes on smoking behaviour involves testing economic models with observational data, with the reliability of results depending on the econometric methodology adopted. Studies rarely attempt to explain their results in terms of the existing body of literature nor has the use of systematic review methodology been generally applied with economic studies.

Against this background, the project aims to establish the influence of price and income on the smoking behaviour of young people under 25. Conventional economic theory suggests that young people are more sensitive to price, income and other incentives in determining their consumption behaviour than adults. More recent research has challenged this view, opening up a wider debate about the structure of the models tested, data used and the statistical techniques adopted in different studies. For example, research on the influence of price and taxes on smoking behaviour involves testing economic models with observational data, with the reliability of results depending on the econometric methodology adopted. Studies rarely attempt to explain their results in terms of the existing body of literature nor has the use of systematic review methodology been generally applied with economic studies.

Against this background, the project aims to establish the influence of price and income on the smoking behaviour of young people under 25. Conventional economic theory suggests that young people are more sensitive to price, income and other incentives in determining their consumption behaviour than adults. More recent research has challenged this view, opening up a wider debate about the structure of the models tested, data used and the statistical techniques adopted in different studies. For example, research on the influence of price and taxes on smoking behaviour involves testing economic models with observational data, with the reliability of results depending on the econometric methodology adopted. Studies rarely attempt to explain their results in terms of the existing body of literature nor has the use of systematic review methodology been generally applied with economic studies.

An important secondary output of the project is quality criteria for the reviews of econometric studies of health behaviour. Clear and transferable criteria will help those undertaking reviews of such studies to critically assess their findings and to integrate them with results from studies using different methodologies and data.