Introduction of standardised tobacco packaging and minimum excise tax in the UK: a prospective study

Nicole Augustin and Rosemary Hiscock (University of Edinburgh and University of Bath)

Friday 20th November, 2020 15:30-16:30 Zoom


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Standardised packaging for factory made and roll your own tobacco was implemented in the UK in May, 2017, alongside a minimum excise tax for factory made products. As other jurisdictions attempt to implement standardised packaging, the tobacco industry continues to suggest that it would be counterproductive, in part by leading to falls in price due to commoditisation. Here, we assess the impact of the introduction of these policies on the UK tobacco market.

We carried out a prospective study of UK commercial electronic point-of-sale data from 11 constituent geographic areas. Data were available for each tobacco product (or Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)): the tobacco brand, brand family, brand variant, specific features of the pack. For each SKU, three years (May 2015 to April 2018) of monthly data on volume of sales, sales prices, and extent of distribution of sales within the 11 UK geographical areas were available.

The main outcomes were changes in sales volumes, volume-weighted real prices, and tobacco industry revenue. To estimate temporal trends of monthly price per stick, revenue and volume sold we used additive mixed models. In the talk we will cover some of the statistically interesting details on data preparation, model choice, trend estimation and presentation of model results. We will also present the main results and talk about limitations.

This is joint work with Rosemary Hiscock, Rob Branston and Anna Gilmore. The project was funded by Cancer Research UK.


Hiscock, R., Augustin, N.H., Branston, J.R. and Gilmore, A.B., 2020. Standardised packaging, minimum excise tax, and RYO focussed tax rise implications for UK tobacco pricing. PloS one, 15(2), p.e0228069.

Hiscock, R., Augustin, N.H., Branston, J.R. and Gilmore, A.B., 2020. Longitudinal evaluation of the impact of standardised packaging and Minimum Excise Tax on tobacco sales and industry revenue in the UK. Tobacco Control. doi:10.1136/ tobaccocontrol-2019-055387.

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