E-cigarette prices and teen vaping

Lloyd Johnston and colleagues show that raising the price of e-cigarettes is related to teen vaping. A 10% increase in the price of disposable e-cigs is linked to an 18% decrease in how often teens vape. The price increase shows a clear connection to the intensity of vaping but little impact on use participation, or how many teens vape. This difference in findings may indicate that higher ecig prices don’t stop ecig experimentation but do affect how often current users vape.


The analyses use fixed market effects based on Nielsen ratings in a variety of stores but not online. Without fixed market effects, the study also links a 10% increase in the price of traditional cigarettes to a 3.5% increase in ecig demand. This suggests that to some extent ecigs and cigarettes are economic substitutes.


The results come from a new Monitoring the Future study of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders surveyed in schools across the US in 2014 and 2015. As of mid 2017, seven states plus DC and numerous localities have raised the price of ecigs by taxing. More than a dozen states have introduced bills to tax ecigs. To date there are few empirical studies of the effects of price on ecig use.


The paper became available online in the November 2017 issue of Addiction. Monitoring the Future is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.