Online Program

Nondaily smokers' reactions to the nation's highest tax

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Emily Anne McDonald, Ph.D., Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Pamela Ling, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Nicolas M. Sheon, PhD, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background: Recent research shows a significant growth in nondaily, or intermittent, smoking, yet little research addresses the impact of tobacco control policies on nondaily smoking. We collected qualitative focus group data from young adult nondaily smokers (NDS) in New York City to describe their responses to cutting-edge tobacco control interventions.

Methods: We recruited 87 young adult smokers between the ages of 18-26 currently residing in New York City. We completed 17 focus groups exploring a range of topics, including responses to recently implemented tobacco-control policies. Video and audio recordings of the focus group session were systematically analyzed using Transana software.

Results: Despite lower consumption levels than daily smokers, NDS are surprisingly sensitive to price. Relying on the informal market, NDS employed diverse strategies to manage costs: purchasing “loosies” (cigarettes sold individually, often mentholated); obtaining cigarettes from nearby states; and rolling cigarettes at home. Purchasing “loosies” was also described as a cessation strategy that discouraged possession of an entire pack. Nondaily smokers additionally discussed the impact of clean air laws and anti-tobacco PSAs on intermittent smoking.

Discussion: Attention to the informal economy of tobacco products suggests the need for enforcement of bans on sale of “loosies.” paired with cost-saving strategies to encourage cessation among nondaily smokers. In the context of a robust informal economy, comprehensive clean air laws and media specifically targeting nondaily smoking may be increasingly important.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the diverse strategies used by nondaily smokers to circumvent tobacco-control policies in NYC Describe three strategies that may make current tobacco control efforts more effective for decreasing nondaily smoking

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a postdoctoral fellow (Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology) working with Dr. Pamela Ling on a project investigating tobacco use among young adults. My training in ethnographic methodologies, as well as theoretical interests in health and risk, help shape our qualitative approaches to understanding smoking practices and behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.