Prevalence, Price and Place of Selling of Cigarettes in Urban and Rural Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)
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Faculty of Postgraduate Studies, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane, Lao P.D.R
Tobacco Control Office, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Bangkok, Thailand
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A179
Aim and Objective:
To determine the prevalence, price and selling place of cigarettes in both urban and rural Laos with the aim to provide the Government with evidence to raise tobacco tax rates for fiscal and public health gains.

A two-stage cluster, random sampling survey was conducted among cigarette retail stores in Vientiane Capital (urban) and Champasack Province (rural) from September 26 – October 19, 2016. Face-to-face interviews with retailers and direct observation were applied using questionnaire and checklist, respectively.

Two hundred and eleven pairs of retail stores and informants were visited (103 in urban and 108 in rural areas). Thirty-one percent, 29% and 24% of stores were street-vendors, small groceries, and restaurants/coffee shops, respectively. Twenty-seven international/imported and 13 locally produced cigarette brands were recorded in the survey. The mean (95%CI) price per package of the most expensive cigarettes (in US$) was 2.1 (1.9-2.3) - [range=1.7-2.5] for imported; and 0.91(0.90-0.92) – [range=0.78-1.25] for local brands. The cheapest price for both imported and local cigarettes per package was only 0.25 US$. The mean price of cigarette per package was significantly higher in rural compared to that in urban areas for both imported and local brands (p<0.05). By observation, the proportion of stores with prices displayed on the cigarette shelves was 33% (19% were shown for all brands and 14% for some brands only) and this was not significantly different between urban (35%) compared to rural (31%) areas (p=0.49).

Cigarette price in Laos is extremely low (<1 US$) and it is widely available. It is strongly recommended that excise or additional tax should be increased to the level that would reduce the affordability of the consumers.

This study was supported by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

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