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Can Cigarette Price Hike In California Make People Quit Smoking?

3 April 2017, 12:10 pm EDT By Sumit Passary Tech Times
Lawmakers in California imposed a strict price hike on cigarettes and other tobacco products from April 1. Many people have made up their mind to kick the habit as a result of this decision.  ( Spencer Platt | Getty Images )

On April 1, the government imposed Proposition 56, in which cigarette prices experienced a considerable hike in California.

This law received the green signal after people voted in its favor in November 2016. The price hike imposes an additional $2 charge for every pack of cigarettes purchased in the state.

The Price Hike: What Do Smokers Think?

Very few people who smoke regularly support this change in pricing. However, many say they do not have any other alternative, other than to quit the habit.

"Absolutely, I'm quitting. I refuse to pay it," says Citrus Heights, who has been a chain smoker for the past 21 years.

According to Heights, the new tax imposed on cigarettes means she and her husband will have to shell out an extra $120 each month to continue smoking.

Shop owners shared the positive effects of the increase in price among smokers in California.

"Yesterday, a customer was saying that was his last pack, his last carton," says Dave Singh, the owner of a cigarette outlet in Pacheco Blvd.

Another customer named Caitlin Holloway, who works in the same place as Heights, expressed that it was her last carton of cigarettes and she is thinking of quitting it forever.

"I cannot do the extra $2 a pack," says Holloway, who is also a single mother.

Curbing the habit was one of the prime motives behind the adoption of Proposition 56 and so far, the move seems to be effective.

"In every instance, when a state has increased its tobacco tax, there's been a reduction in smoking," says Jim Knox, the vice president of government relations for The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Inc. in California.

Based on data from the California Department of Public Health, cigarette smoking among adults dropped significantly from 17.1 percent in 1999 to 11.7 percent in 2013.

Many shopkeepers in the state predict that the price hike will negatively impact sales by 20 percent to 25 percent.

Price Hike Of Non-Cigarette Products

The government imposed a price hike on non-cigarette products as well, which includes cigar, snuff, cigarillos, and chewing tobacco.

This hike also includes e-cigarettes, which are mostly used by high school teens. Therefore, the price hike may possibly reduce underage smoking as well. E-cigarettes are said to incite users to try conventional tobacco cigarettes as well.

Why It Is Difficult To Quit Smoking

According to health officials and anti-tobacco groups, it is extremely tough for chain smokers and heavy smokers to kick the habit as the brain gets addicted to the nicotine present in cigarettes.

For the first few weeks, users may experience stress, anxiety, or even develop depression, which are all withdrawal symptoms.

However, the price hike in California may compel smokers to give up the unhealthy habit, simply because they can no longer afford the expense.

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