Few studies have examined associations of geographically proximal cigarette prices with within-person changes in smoking outcomes or assessed interactions between cigarette prices and smoking bans.
We linked neighborhood cigarette prices (inflation-adjusted) at chain supermarkets and drug stores and bar/restaurant smoking ban policies to cohort participants (632 smokers from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, 2001–2012, baseline mean age 58 years) using geocoded retailer and participant addresses. We used fixed-effects models to investigate associations of within-person changes in price and ban exposures with within-person changes in five smoking outcomes: current smoking, heavy (≥10 cigarettes) smoking, cessation, relapse, and intensity (average number of cigarettes smoked per day, natural log transformed). We assessed intensity associations among all smokers, and heavy (≥10 cigarettes per day) and light (<10) baseline smokers. Finally, we tested interactions between cigarette price and bans.
A $1 increase in price was associated with a 3% reduction in risk of current smoking (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.93, 1.0), a 7% reduction in risk of heavy smoking (aRR: 0.93; CI = 0.87, 0.99), a 20% increase in risk of smoking cessation (aRR: 1.2; CI = 0.99, 1.4), and a 35% reduction in the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by heavy baseline smokers (ratio of geometric means: 0.65; CI = 0.45, 0.93). We found no association between smoking bans and outcomes, and no evidence that price effects were modified by the presence of bans.
Results underscore the importance of local prices, but not hospitality smoking bans, in influencing older adults’ smoking behaviors.