Increase on tobacco taxation: How much do the students from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy agree?
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Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A10
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According to WHO, an increase in tobacco taxation reduces tobacco consumption and healthcare costs, represents a financing source for governments and a useful strategy to discourage young people from starting smoking.

The aim of this study was to assess agreement with a proposed €1 increase in the price of tobacco, to be spent on prevention, among students of Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. Two samples, five years apart (2014 and 2019), were analyzed.

During the World-No-Tobacco-Days (WNTD) 2014 and 2019, students aged 18–31 years, passing by the university informative-formative point ‘UNITAB’ from 11.00 a.m. to 15.00 p.m., were asked to fill an anonymous questionnaire. Personal data, smoking status and agreement with the proposed €1 increase on tobacco price were collected. Descriptive analysis was performed.

Two hundred and four questionnaires were collected (107 in 2014, 97 in 2019). Mean age was 22.5 ± 2.2 years and 57.3% were females, with no significant differences between 2014 and 2019. Smokers significantly increased from 55.1% to 70.1% (p=0.04) in 2014 and 2019, respectively. In 2014, those who agreed with the proposed €1 increase on tobacco price were 53.3% of the sample, whereas in 2019 the percentage decreased to 39.2% (p=0.05). Analyzing data according to smoking status, it stood out that in 2014 non-smokers mostly agreed with the taxation (79.2%), while in 2019 only 65.5% did so.

Agreement with the €1 increase seems to have decreased over time, especially among non-smokers. The following factors could have influenced this result: the theme of 2014 WNTD was on raising tobacco tax; a selection bias could have occurred; the introduction of novel tobacco products and the increased tobacco advertisements on social media. These could have decreased the perceived risks associated with tobacco use. Further studies are needed to clarify this result.

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