Stevens and colleagues found that each $1.00 increase in average price of cigarettes was associated with a 6% higher rate of quitting in smokers age ≥50 years living in the United States (1).

Correlation does not mean causality but their results are robust: (i) being based on a cohort (n = 9,446) from 48 states and Washington, DC; (ii) as smoking prevalence largely varies among states because tobacco control policies are mainly promoted at the state or city (by-laws) levels, New York City being a beacon.

A two-step experience from France supported the validity of Stevens and colleagues conclusion. During the first step, cigarettes sales decreased from 83.5 billion in 2002 to 54.9 billion in 2004 (14.3% decrease per year during 2 years) after a 12.5% increase in excise taxes in 2002 plus three more increases in 2003, adding up to another 39% increase in price. In 2004 Raffarin, President Chirac's Prime Minister, announced a moratorium on tobacco taxes, the second step (2). Since then, there has been no relevant increase in cigarette price (from €5 in 2004 to 6.7 in 2017, a 2.6% increase per year over the period), the highest increase being 6% while a 10% increase is the threshold to impact sale (http://www.ofdt.fr/BDD/publications/docs/eftxalu5.pdf). Accordingly, sales have been plateauing until 2016 with only 0.8% decrease per year during 12 years (http://www.ofdt.fr/statistiques-et-infographie/series-statistiques/tabac-evolution-des-ventes/). During the 2005 to 2010 period, smoking prevalence increased by 17% in older women (born between 1946 and 1950; http://inpes.santepubliquefrance.fr/10000/themes/tabac/consommation/profils-fumeurs.asp).

The deliberately nonrelevant increase in cigarettes price in France, a weird but genuine policy, allows the revenue service and the tobacco industry to share profits. Indeed, some increases in price were increases in industrial price, not in taxes and only 63% of retail price is excise tax, far from 75% (the World Health Organization benchmark)!

No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.

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