Google searches for “cheap cigarettes” spike at tax increases: Evidence from an algorithm to detect spikes in time series data


Introduction Online cigarette dealers have lower prices than brick-and-mortar retailers and advertise tax-free status.1–8 Previous studies show smokers search out these online alternatives at the time of a cigarette tax increase.9,10 However, these studies rely upon researchers’ decision to consider a specific date and preclude the possibility that researchers focus on the wrong date. The purpose of this study is to introduce an unbiased methodology to the field of observing search patterns and to use this methodology to determine whether smokers search Google for “cheap cigarettes” at cigarette tax increases and, if so, whether the increased level of searches persists.
Theodore L. Caputi
Theodore L. Caputi
Economics & Health Researcher

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.