Objective: To examine differences in price discounting of cigarettes in milk bars located near secondary schools in metropolitan areas of Victoria, according to neighbourhood socioeconomic status (SES).
Method: Milk bars within one km of randomly selected secondary schools in Victorian metropolitan areas were audited to assess the advertised price of the most popular cigarette brands.
Results: Cigarette brands were available below the recommended retail price (RRP) at between 10% to 14% of the 62 milk bars visited. Price discounting was occurring significantly more frequently in areas of lower SES, with between 23% and 33% of milk bars in these neighbourhoods selling the leading cigarette brands at below RRP.
Conclusions: Price discounting was found to be occurring to a greater extent in milk bars near secondary schools in low SES areas compared to mid to high SES areas.
Implications: Promotional tools that make cigarettes more affordable risk undermining efforts to reduce smoking prevalence, especially in price sensitive populations of lower SES.