The Victorian Smoking and Health Survey is commissioned annually by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC). In 2011, telephone interviews were undertaken with a representative sample of adults aged 18 years and over, residing in the state of Victoria. A dual frame design for the survey was adopted, whereby the sample frame was generated by random digit dialling (RDD) to both landline and mobile telephones. 3500 interviews were completed with respondents selected by calling landline telephones and 1000 interviews were completed with respondents contacted by calls to mobile phones. The questions, designed by CBRC, were asked within a broader 14-minute survey of smoking related attitudes and behaviours, conducted during weekends and weeknights between November 2nd and December 5th, 2011. The response rate for the survey was 59%. The survey was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Cancer Council Victoria (HREC 0018).
A widely accepted question assessing tobacco use  was used to determine smoking status. For the purposes of this report, respondents were regarded as regular smokers if they currently smoked manufactured cigarettes on a daily or at least weekly basis. Within the survey, regular smokers of manufactured cigarettes were asked to report on their usual brand of cigarettes; ‘Which is your regular brand of manufactured cigarettes?’ Smokers who stated a regular brand were then asked to report on the price and size of the pack they usually smoked. ‘How much does a pack of your regular brand usually cost?’ and ‘How many cigarettes per packet are there in the pack size you usually buy?’
In order to examine the price point at which regular smokers would seriously consider quitting, this group were also asked ‘What price would your regular pack need to get to before you would seriously try to quit smoking altogether?
In a different part of the survey, smokers were also asked about their future intention to quit, ‘Do you think you should quit sometime in the future, or are you happy to smoke for the rest of your life?’ Responses of ‘Should quit’ , ‘Happy to smoke’ and ‘Don’t know/can’t say’ were recorded. They were also asked about use of illicit unbranded tobacco commonly known in Australia as ‘chop chop’.
This study examines the average amount Victorian smokers of manufactured cigarettes spent on their usual packs in 2011 and the estimated price respondents nominated their usual brand of cigarettes would have to reach before they would seriously consider quitting.
To adjust for any inherent differences between the 2011 dual frame sample and the Victorian population age and gender distributions, the sample was weighted based on 2009 Estimated Resident Population statistics . The dual frame data were also weighted to take into account the relative chance of inclusion in the land line or mobile phone sample frame, as well as chance of selection based on the number of landlines in each household and number of in-scope people per household. Analyses showed that the dual frame sample improved the representation of young adults, males and employed persons in the survey compared to a traditional landline only sample .
The average price of an individual cigarette stick in 2011 was calculated by dividing the reported cost of a smoker’s usual pack by the number of sticks in the pack. The estimated price an individual stick would have to reach before the smoker would seriously consider quitting was calculated by dividing the price a smoker nominated their usual pack would have to reach before they would seriously consider quitting, by the size of the pack.
Smokers were classified as being light smokers if they smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes on average per day, medium smokers reported smoking between 10 and 19 cigarettes a day and those who smoked 20 cigarettes or more a day were classified as heavy smokers.
A frequency of consumption variable categorised respondents as being daily or weekly (at least weekly, but not daily) smokers.
The Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA), developed by the ABS, was used to classify respondents into socio-economic groups based on 2006 Census data of the area in which they live . In the following analyses, the Index of Socio-Economic Disadvantage (one of the four ABS SEIFA indexes) has been used, based on respondent’s residential postcode. In Australia area measures of disadvantage are generally considered more reliable than individual measures such as income which suffers from problems of instability over life-course and poor response rates .
This index ranks postcodes on a continuum of high disadvantage to low disadvantage, taking into consideration characteristics such as income, education, occupation and housing that may reduce socio-economic conditions of the area. For the purpose of analysis we have aggregated respondents into three groups based on this scale.
The low SES group (1st & 2nd quintiles) comprised people who live in areas with a SEIFA score in the bottom 40% of ranked Victorian postal areas (this represents a higher level of disadvantage relative to the other 2 groups). The mid SES group (3rd & 4th quintiles) includes people who live in areas with a SEIFA score between 41% and 80% of ranked postal areas. The high SES group (5th quintile) includes those who live in areas with a SEIFA score between 81% and 100% of ranked postal areas (reflecting a lower level of disadvantage relative to the other groups). In 2011, just over 32% of the dual frame sample fell into the low SES group (1st and 2nd quintiles); 41% in the mid SES group (3rd and 4th quintiles); and 27% in the high SES group (5th quintile), similar to the Victorian population overall .
Analyses of co-variance (ANCOVA) were undertaken to examine the effects of pack size, frequency of smoking and SES on the price individual sticks would have to reach before smokers would seriously consider quitting, taking into account sex, age and consumption levels.
Multivariate logistic regression analyses were undertaken to explore the characteristics of groups who did not (or who were unable to) nominate a price at which they would seriously consider quitting.