Estimating the price elasticity of demand for cigarettes in South Africa using the Deaton approach.

17 Dec 2021


To estimate the price elasticity of demand for South Africa and thereby contribute to growing the evidence base of the likely impact of excise taxes on cigarette demand in low-income and middle-income countries.


We employ the Deaton method, using wave 5 data from the South African National Income Dynamics Study, to estimate the cigarette price elasticity for South Africa. We used a sample of 6820 households.


Of the 6 820 households in the sample for which we had sufficient data, 1341 (19.7%) spent money on tobacco. The price elasticity of demand for cigarettes is estimated at -0.86 (95% CI -1.37 to -0.35), implying that the demand for cigarettes in South Africa declines by 8.6% for every 10% increase in price.


The negative price elasticity estimate for South Africa indicates that increases in the excise tax are particularly effective in controlling cigarette consumption. However, given the presence of a significant illicit tobacco market in the country, it is important that authorities augment tax measures with strategies that curb the illicit trade in cigarettes.

Resource information

Respiratory topics
  • Risk factor: tobacco - smoking
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Dare C, Boachie MK, Tingum EN, Abdullah SM, van Walbeek C