Valuation for Cigarettes among University of the Philippines Manila Students through Stated Preference Methods

John Paul Caesar R. delos Trinos,1 Liana Mae J. Lobo,1,2 Charmaine Joy A. Cabaña,1,3
Shermaine Anne B. De Leon,1,4 Abigail Ann A. Guiñez1,5 and Abubakar S. Asaad1

1College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila
2College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila
3Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health
4St. Louis University-School of Medicine
5University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center

Objective.  The study aimed to assess the valuation for cigarettes among UP Manila students aged 18-24 through direct and indirect stated preference methods.

Methods. Direct (iterative bidding) and indirect (discrete choice experiment) stated preference methods were utilized to determine the smokers’ Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) and non-smokers’ Willingness-to-Accept (WTA). Median and interquartile range were used in describing both WTP and WTA. Fisher’s Exact Test and T-test were performed using STATA v12 to determine the association between the identified factors.  

Results. Of the 212 respondents, 21 (9.91%) were smokers. The smokers’ direct and indirect WTP for a cigarette stick were PhP 6.00 and PhP 12.43, respectively. There was a significant difference (p=0.01) between the results of the two methods. Meanwhile, 40.84% of the non-smokers could be induced to smoke with PhP 0.00 as their WTA. No significant association was found between the smokers’ stated preference and their smoking status and allowance. The WTP of the smokers was higher than the December 2013 retail prices of cigarettes.

Conclusion. The increased cigarette prices brought about by the Sin Tax Law were insufficient in stopping the selected UP Manila students to smoke. In addition, forty percent of non-smokers in the study could be induced to smoke. Thus, further price increase of cigarettes, as well as other tobacco control measures, is recommended to discourage smoking among the youth such as college students, specifically in UP Manila.

Key Words: cigarette price, youth smoking, stated preference, iterative bidding, discrete choice experiment, willingness to pay, willingness to accept