Impact of three annual tobacco tax rises on tobacco sales in remote Australian Aboriginal community stores

David P. Thomas, Emma McMahon, Zhiqiang Wang, Michelle M. Scollo, Sarah J. Durkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background There is strong evidence from many settings that tobacco tax rises which increase prices reduce tobacco consumption, but only limited evidence from Indigenous settings. Methods We analysed 3 years (2016-2018) of weekly sales data from 32 stores in remote Aboriginal communities. We used interrupted time series analysis to estimate the immediate impact of the price rice following annual 12.5% tobacco tax rises on sales on (A) stick equivalents of tobacco and (B) fruit and vegetables (kg) per $A1000 of grocery sales, and on the trend in sales between price rises. Results We detected 5.8% and 8.2% immediate declines in tobacco sales following the price rises associated with annual 12.5% tax rises in 2016 and 2018, and a non-significant decline (1.6%) following the 2017 tax rise. Decreased sales were mainly driven by declines in mainstream and premium factory-made cigarettes. Fruit and vegetable sales did not change at the time of tobacco price rises. Conclusion For the first time, we demonstrated evidence of price-sensitivity and the immediate impact of price rises from tobacco tax rises on tobacco sales in remote Aboriginal communities. We acknowledge that Australia already has very high tobacco taxation and prices, but recommend further increases to the taxation of roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco to prevent smokers and industry using cheaper RYO cigarettes to undermine this impact of high tobacco taxes and prices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E122-E127
Number of pages6
JournalTobacco Control
Issue numbere2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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