Raising Taxes to Reduce Smoking Prevalence in the US: A Simulation of the Anticipated Health and Economic Impacts

Document Type




To estimate health and economic outcomes of raising the excise taxes on cigarettes.


We use a dynamic computer simulation model to estimate health and economic impacts of raising taxes on cigarettes (up to 100% price increase) for the entire population of the USA over 20 years. We also perform sensitivity analysis on price elasticity.


A 40% tax-induced cigarette price increase would reduce smoking prevalence from 21% in 2004 to 15.2% in 2025 with large gains in cumulative life years (7 million) and quality adjusted life years (13 million) over 20 years. Total tax revenue will increase by $365 billion in that span, and total smoking-related medical costs would drop by $317 billion, resulting in total savings of $682 billion. These benefits increase greatly with larger tax increases, and tax revenues continue to rise even as smoking prevalence falls.


Increasing taxes on cigarettes is a unique policy intervention that reduces smoking prevalence, generates additional tax revenue, and results in significant savings in medical care costs.


Cigarettes; Cigarettes—Taxation; Computer simulation; Economic impact analysis; Economic impacts; Elasticity (Economics); Health impacts; Medical care; Cost of; Price elasticity; QALYS; Sickness Impact Profile; Simulation; Simulation methods; Smoking; Smoking--Health aspects; Smoking—Prevention; Smoking cessation; System dynamics; Tax; Tax revenue estimating; Taxation


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Computer Engineering | Economics | Engineering | Environmental Sciences | Public Health


Use Find in Your Library, contact the author, or interlibrary loan to garner a copy of the item. Publisher policy does not allow archiving the final published version. If a post-print (author's peer-reviewed manuscript) is allowed and available, or publisher policy changes, the item will be deposited.

UNLV article access

Search your library