Association between use of contraband tobacco and smoking cessation outcomes: A population-based cohort study

Graham C. Mecredy, Lori M. Diemert, Russell C. Callaghan, Joanna E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: High tobacco prices, typically achieved through taxation, are an evidencebased strategy to reduce tobacco use. However, the presence of inexpensive contraband tobacco could undermine this effective intervention by providing an accessible alternative to quitting. We assessed whether the use of contraband tobacco negatively affects smoking cessation outcomes. Methods: We evaluated data from 2786 people who smoked, aged 18 years or older, who participated in the population-based longitudinal Ontario Tobacco Survey. We analyzed associations between use of contraband tobacco and smoking cessation outcomes (at - tempting to quit, 30-d cessation and longterm cessation at 1 yr follow-up). Results: Compared with people who smoked premium or discount cigarettes, people who reported usually smoking contraband cigarettes at baseline were heavier smokers, perceived greater addiction, identified more barriers to quitting and were more likely to have used pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation. People who smoked contraband cigarettes were less likely to report a period of 30-day cessation during the subsequent 6 months (adjusted relative risk [RR] 0.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.09-0.61) and 1 year (adjusted RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14-0.61), but they did not differ significantly from other people who smoked regarding attempts to quit (at 6 mo, adjusted RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.43-1.20) or long-term cessation (adjusted RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.04-1.34). Interpretation: Smoking contraband cigarettes was negatively associated with shortterm smoking cessation. Access to contraband tobacco may therefore undermine public health efforts to reduce the use of tobacco at the population level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E287-E294
JournalCMAJ. Canadian Medical Association Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 16 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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