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Impact of cigarette taxes on healthcare expenditures in CA

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Wendy Max, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2015 (Cycle 24) Grant #: 24ST-0051 Award: $40,763
Subject Area: Public Health, Public Policy, and Economics
Award Type: Special Projects

Initial Award Abstract
This study will update the previous work by Max, Sung, and Lightwood that projected the Impact of Changes in Tobacco Control Funding on Healthcare Expenditures in California, 2012-2016. In that study, we estimated of the impact of changes in California tobacco control funding on smoking-attributable healthcare expenditures for 2012-2016 under four funding scenarios: unchanged tobacco control spending in California at the level of 5 cents per pack (base case), funding cut in half, a cigarette tax increase of $1.00 per pack with 20 cents per pack allocated to tobacco control, and tobacco control funding increased to the CDC recommended level. This study will update the previous analyses by incorporating newer smoking prevalence data to project the impact on smoking prevalence and healthcare expenditures that would result in 2016-2020 under two scenarios: a base case (no change in the cigarette tax) and a $2.00 per pack tax increase implemented on January 1, 2017 with 26 cents per pack to be allocated to the California Tobacco Control Program. The study has 2 aims. The first aim is to project light, moderate, and heavy smoking prevalence for California for 2016-2020 under the two scenarios. The second aim is to project the smoking-attributable healthcare expenditures for 2016-2020 under the two scenarios, and determine the savings in healthcare expenditures that would result if the tax increase is implemented. These aims will be accomplished using the regression estimates from our previous research updated with the newest data available. This special project is responsive to TRDRP's research priority area in State and Local Tobacco Control Policy Research: To support research that advances the ability of state agencies, legislative bodies, and local communities through California to assess, understand and implement science-based tobacco control policies. Our analyses of the impact of an increase in the cigarette tax on smoking prevalence and healthcare expenditures will help state agencies and policymakers to argue more effectively for its passage, and will help persuade voters to support the increase.