Big Tobacco has faced some hardships in the past. More and more adults are quitting tobacco and teens are wisening up to Big Tobacco’s dirty marketing tactics, choosing to never even start using tobacco. In the last 15 years, the number of cigarettes sold in the US dropped 37% . States and localities are implementing stronger policies such as smoke-free air laws, cigarette taxes, and stricter tobacco control regulations. How is the industry managing to stay afloat?
The answer? They’re bumping up the prices of their products. The industry raked in $93.4 billion and hiked up revenue by 32%. In fact, profits have increased 77% since 2007. Americans have officially begun to spend more money on tobacco than on soda or beer. And it certainly helps that the industry faces virtually no competition– tobacco companies Altria and Reynolds American Inc. bought out smaller companies until they became the only ones left.
The biggest threat to the industry is stricter regulations and the American tobacco industry faces fewer restrictions than in other countries. Our average cigarette tax is about $4 less than in the United Kingdom and tobacco products sold there must have plain, drab, form packaging with graphic health warnings. The industry also tries to find new ways to make a buck by introducing new products, like Altira’s “heat-not-burn” electronic device called IQOS. FDA oversight and regulation on electronic devices is currently up in the air. Soon, Congress must vote on a budget bill with a dangerous provision snuck in that would make FDA review of e-cigarettes a thing of the past. Click here to find your local congressional representative and tell them that they need to reign in the tobacco industry.