Big Tobacco Wants YOU to Keep Smoking

By Victoria Kim 05/22/13

As Americans cut back, tobacco companies fight to keep customers with more giveaways.

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Big Tobacco wants to keep your business.
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As Americans cut back on smoking to save their lives, big tobacco companies have responded by ramping up aggressive marketing and giveaways, Reuters reports. Adult smokers are down from about 33% in 1980, to 19% in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported Tuesday that total marketing expenditures for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco increased from $8.49 billion in 2010 to $8.82 billion in 2011, even as the smoking population steadily shrinks. This means tobacco companies spend about $24 million a day—$1 million each hour—to market their products. And about 274 billion cigarettes were sold or given away in 2011. The bulk of promotional spending is allotted to giveaways, which range from coupons for free cigarettes to "buy two, get one free" deals. Discounts paid to retailers or wholesalers to stock certain brands of cigarettes also account for the spending increase. Conventional tobacco smoking is declining, but the value of smokeless tobacco (such as the electronic cigarette) rose from $2.78 billion in 2010 to $2.94 billion in 2011. Tobacco use remains is the country's leading cause of preventable death, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr