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Changes in cigarette price have had an appreciable impact on smoking consumption in several countries. We analysed the price elasticity of demand for cigarettes in Italy over the period 1970–2001. A 1% increase in price of cigarettes led to a 0.30% decline in smoking prevalence and to a 0.43% decline in cigarette consumption. The present analyses confirm the existence of an inverse association between price and prevalence/consumption of cigarettes in Italy, and indicate that economic aspects may have important public health implications in tobacco control.