Background Tobacco tax policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) assumes a gradual annual increase in specific excise taxes on cigarettes. However, it is insufficient to reduce significantly consumption. This paper examines effects of the increase in cigarette prices and disposable income on cigarette demand in B&H by different income consumer groups.
Methods Based on the Household Budget Surveys and microdata from 2007, 2011 and 2015, we employed logit model to estimate prevalence and Deaton’s model to estimate intensity elasticity of cigarette demand for the sample of 21 424 households (9953 are smoking households) by different income groups. We used obtained elasticities and estimated the impact of tax increase on cigarette consumption and government revenue in three tax increase scenarios.
Results Ten per cent price increase would reduce the consumption of low-income households by 14%, as opposed to 9.9% for middle-income and 7% for high-income households. Low-income households would significantly increase the demand for cigarettes compared with high-income households if income increased. Increase in the specific excise tax by 25% would reduce cigarette consumption and increase government revenue, while the low-income group would experience a reduction in tax burden.
Conclusions Changes in prices have different impacts on tobacco prevalence and consumption of low-income compared with middle-income and high-income socioeconomic groups. Low-income households are most responsive to changes in prices and income. Thus, the poor in B&H would benefit from an increase in tobacco excise taxes and price.