From: Loma Linda University

Researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health were recently awarded a $1.4 million grant from the NIH to develop new research methods for enhancing the effectiveness of tobacco-control programs in Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia.

Pramil Singh, DrPH, director of the Center for Health Research at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, is principal investigator for the grant, which will allow him and a team of four U.S. co-investigators to build survey research capacity for tobacco control in the three East Asian nations. He notes that almost half the males in those countries are smokers, and calls the rate very high.

From: American Enterprise Institute


Illicit white cigarettes are cigarettes that are legal in the country of production, but are illegally smuggled into other markets where no tax is paid. This paper analyzes whether taxes create a price wedge between legal and illicit cigarettes and thereby affect the availability and trade of illicit whites across markets. Through original, self-conducted point-of-sale surveys and discarded pack collections across 18 cities, we find that cigarette taxes significantly affect the market for illicit whites. Moreover, based on a smoker survey, we find that the illicit white market is supported by consumers willing to purchase illicit products for their reduced prices. It is beyond the scope of this paper to ascertain the optimal tax rates on cigarettes or the stringency of enforcement measures to reduce smoking rates (the desired health outcome). However, gaining a better understanding of the effects of taxes on illicit white trade and consumption is vital because our research suggests that current “sin taxes” drive illicit activity and therefore reduce the effectiveness of higher taxes in curbing the use of cigarettes.