Availability and price distribution of three popular brand variants
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A127
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Price is an important determinant of demand for tobacco products, with price increases being a highly effective tobacco control measure. This study investigates the availability and purchase prices of three brand variants within each of nine countries to better understand the distribution and pricing strategies of tobacco companies.

In 2015-16, three brand variants were systematically purchased in nine low- and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam). The brand variants included a popular national and international variant in each country, and Marlboro Reds in all countries. Brand variants were selected by combining information from Euromonitor, Global Adult Tobacco Surveys, and in-country partners. In each country, a brand variant purchase was attempted from one vendor in each of 12 low, middle, and high socioeconomic areas in 3 major cities (4 in India, 5 in China). Local prices were converted to US dollars.

In every country, Marlboro Reds were readily available; a pack was found in every city and socioeconomic area visited. The other popular brand variants were less widely available. Samples in India and Philippines were too small for within country comparisons. The average price of Marlboro Reds was significantly higher than the other variants in five out of seven countries. In Brazil, Marlboro pricing was not significantly different from the national variant, and in Indonesia, Marlboros were more affordable than the other variants. On average, the price range in Marlboro Reds was $1.09 compared to $0.36 for the national variant and $0.23 for the other international variant. The removal of foreign and duty free Marlboro Reds does not change the average price results, but decreases the price range to $0.48.

Differences were found in availability and pricing at the country and brand variant levels. We will discuss possible explanations for the availability and price distribution findings.

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