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SMOKING AND THE INTERNET

SMOKERS USE THE INTERNET IN INTRIGUING WAYS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS.

Increased taxation has historically been one way to induce people who smoke cigarettes to consider quitting, but now Johns Hopkins research led by John Ayers, a doctoral candidate, shows that some smokers simply turn to the internet for help.

AYERS: What we saw was that smokers could use the internet in one of two ways: they could either use it as a cessation tool, to go and find information to learn how to quit online, or they could use it as a way to avoid the tax by buying from tax free or tax reduced retailers, and we saw that where the internet exists smokers are more readily responding to the tax not by being interested in quitting but by being interested in continuing to get their cigarettes in a way that avoided the price increase related to the tax       :26

Ayers says this knowledge can help policymakers develop more effective public policy related to the sale of cigarettes but also provides an opportunity to present smokers with messaging to at least help them consider quitting. At Johns Hopkins, Iím Elizabeth Tracey.


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