Published: June 3, 2015 By

ABSTRACT. Countermarketing, or efforts to reduce consumption of certain products, has become common in categories such as tobacco, junk food, fossil fuels, and furs. Countermarketing has a particularly long history in the tobacco industry. Efforts to reduce smoking have included excise taxes that increase the cost of consumption, smoke-free restrictions that make consumption less convenient, and antismoking advertising campaigns that highlight the dangers of tobacco use. This article presents an analysis of the relative effectiveness of these different strategies. We find that cigarette excise taxes are the most effective tool for reducing overall cigarette sales, followed by antismoking advertising. Smoke-free restrictions are not found to have a significant effect on cigarette sales. We also investigate how these various policy tools induce product substitution. This issue is of considerable importance because some countermarketing techniques may potentially shift consumers to more dangerous, higher nicotine and tar cigarettes. Specifically, we find that excise taxes levied on a per pack basis rather than based on nicotine levels often shift consumers to more dangerous products.