For some, smoking is and always will be a way of life. For others, smoking is a constant battle where they can quit for awhile, but then restart again. Some never choose to smoke at all. In the United States, smoking has become politically incorrect on a public level, but on a personal level many have no issues with cigarettes.
The Current Tobacco Industry
Did you know that the largest producer of cigarettes in the world is China?
That doesn’t mean that cigarettes aren’t a profitable American venture still, even with the plethora of anti-smoking campaigns that fill the airwaves. The top 3 cigarette companies last year made $50 billion in revenue last year, even with sales and production figures declining. Here are some other amazing tobacco industry statistics to consider.
The Profitability of Cigarettes Today
1. Phillip Morris was ranked the 94th most profitable company recently by Fortune 500. That places them above companies like Google, Amazon, and McDonald’s.
2. Major life insurance companies are major stakeholders in today’s tobacco giants, with Mass Mutual leading the way with over $550 million in tobacco stocks.
3. In 2009, President Obama raised the Federal tax on cigarettes to $1.01 per pack. Despite this, the next year 25 billion cigarettes were produced in the US alone.
Takeaway: Scientific evidence points toward the fact that smoking can cause some long term health issues and significantly increases a person’s risk for serious disease development. Despite this, many people also don’t like to be told what to do by the government or others in power and will gladly pay a higher tax so they can do what they want. Even though it’s been tried countless times, it is impossible to legislate morality.
Additional Tobacco Industry Statistics
1. American governments at the local, state, and national level collect $35 billion annually from tax revenues generated by tobacco sales.
2. Larger warning labels on packages have made smoking even more attractive to certain first-time tobacco users.
3. It was just 20 years ago that 7 tobacco industry executives testified before congress that the nicotine in tobacco products was not addictive.
4. 168 nations have signed a treaty produced by the World Health Organization that would regulate the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes, but the United States has not ratified this treaty.
5. Before 1988, the tobacco industry won every single lawsuit that was brought forth regarding the dangers of their product. Since then, they have still won a majority of lawsuits brought against them.
6. In 2002, the Federal tax on cigarettes was just 34 cents.
7. It is thought that cigarettes contribute to 20% of American deaths that occur annually.
8. North America accounts for 5% of all global cigarette sales.
Takeaway: The way to encourage better choices in regards to tobacco products is through education more than taxation or threats. When people can visually see what cigarette smoke does to them, it may not make much of an impression, but it will make just as much of an impression as charging an extra dollar for cigarettes will.