The $5 man: The underground economic response to a large cigarette tax increase in New York City

Donna Shelley, Jennifer Cantrell, Joyce Moon-Howard, Destiny Q. Ramjohn, Nancy Van Devanter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives. We examined the mechanisms by which living in a disadvantaged minority community influences smoking and illegal cigarette sale and purchasing behaviors after a large cigarette tax increase. Methods. Data were collected from 14 focus groups (n=104) that were conducted during the spring of 2003 among Blacks aged 18 years and older living in New York City. Results. A large tax increase led to what focus group participants described as a pervasive illegal cigarette market in a low-income minority community. Perceived pro-smoking community norms, a stressful social and economic environment, and the availability of illegal cigarettes worked together to reinforce smoking and undermine cessation. Conclusions. Although interest in quitting was high, bootleggers created an environment in which reduced-price cigarettes were easier to access than cessation services. This activity continues to undermine the public health goals of the tax increase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1483-1488
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume97
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 8 2007

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Taxes
Tobacco Products
Economics
Focus Groups
Smoking
Social Environment
Vulnerable Populations
Smoking Cessation
Public Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

The $5 man : The underground economic response to a large cigarette tax increase in New York City. / Shelley, Donna; Cantrell, Jennifer; Moon-Howard, Joyce; Ramjohn, Destiny Q.; Van Devanter, Nancy.

In: American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 8, 08.01.2007, p. 1483-1488.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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