Estimate economic and health benefits, by sex and income quintile, of tax-based cigarette price increases in Mexico.
An extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA) model was used to estimate distributional benefits for women and men in the scenario of a 44% increase in the price of cigarettes (from 56.4 Mexican pesos [MX$] to MX$81.2 per pack), as a result of tripling the current specific excise tax (from MX$0.49/cigarette to MX$1.49/cigarette). The model was calibrated with official national information sources.
With a tax increase of one peso per cigarette, about 1.5 million smokers would quit (351 300 women and 1.1 million men). This would prevent approximately 630 000 smoking-attributable premature deaths. Reducing the burden of disease would save the health sector close to MX$42.8 billion and prevent more than 250 000 people (including 50 200 women smokers) from falling into poverty. It would also result in an additional MX$16.2 billion in revenue per year, of which the lowest income quintile would contribute less than 3% (1% for low-income women).
The tobacco epidemic has clearly differentiated patterns between women and men, reflecting a gender component. While the tobacco tax in Mexico would have great benefits with respect to the current state of the epidemic, this could also contribute to the broader goal of social justice by reducing gender inequities.