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Home Industry News Budget cigarettes ‘linked to higher infant mortality rates’

Budget cigarettes ‘linked to higher infant mortality rates’

21st September 2017

The availability of budget cigarettes may play a role in driving up infant mortality rates, according to new research.

A study from Imperial College London has analysed data from nearly 54 million births across 23 EU countries from 2004 to 2014, examining whether differences between average-priced and budget cigarettes was linked to infant mortality rates.

It was shown that increases in the average price of cigarettes were associated with reductions in infant mortality, but also that a ten percent increase in the price differential between budget and average-priced cigarettes was associated with 0.07 more deaths per 1,000 live births the following year.

This means that 3,195 infant deaths could potentially have been avoided if all cigarette products had been sold at the same price during this study period.

Researchers noted that increasing the price of cigarettes reduces smoking in the general population, particularly among young people and those on low incomes, with the lower infant mortality link resulting from decreased exposure to secondhand smoke among pregnant women and infants.

Professor Christopher Millett, senior author on the study from Imperial College London's School of Public Health, said: "Our findings suggest that tobacco tax policy should be designed to not only increase the average price of cigarettes but also to eliminate the price difference between higher and lower priced cigarettes."

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