Tobacco industry still rakes in major profit despite anti-smoking laws

Insight

People around the world are smoking about as many cigarettes as ever nearly 6 trillion per year. It’s an incredible number, translating into big business – and profit – for tobacco makers.

People around the world are smoking about as many cigarettes as ever nearly 6 trillion per year.

It’s an incredible number, translating into big business – and profit – for tobacco makers.

But as new cigarette laws go into effect, are they having any impact?

CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes reports.

Tobacco industry still rakes in major profit despite anti-smoking laws

Tobacco industry still rakes in major profit despite anti-smoking laws

People around the world are smoking about as many cigarettes as ever nearly 6 trillion per year. It's an incredible number, translating into big business - and profit - for tobacco makers. But as new cigarette laws go into effect, are they having any impact? CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes reports.

Research shows low- to middle-income countries smoking more, while high-income countries are smoking less.

The trend is linked to tougher smoking restrictions and anti-smoking campaigns. Now, developing countries are implementing their own restrictions.

Global cigarette consumption from 1880 to 2014 (in billion cigarettes)

Global consumption of cigarettes has increased rapidly since 1900. In 1920, 300 billion cigarettes were consumed, and in 2009, cigarette consumption had reached 5.88 billion units. The Western Pacific region consumes about half of the world’s cigarettes, while about 11 percent is consumed in the Americas. However, there has been a significant decrease in per capita cigarette consumption in the United States. At its peak, per capita consumption totaled 4,171 cigarettes in 1960. Figures have since decreased to 1,232 cigarettes per capita in 2011. More recently, due to declines in tobacco sales, companies are beginning to merge. Reynolds American reported its purchase of Lorillard Inc., one of the largest tobacco companies in the United States, for 27.4 billion U.S. dollars.

Nearly a decade ago, Chile banned smoking in public places and recently moved to tone down packaging and ban popular menthol-flavored cigarettes.

Tobacco farms there are small and mostly family-run. Farmers are concerned a tobacco crackdown would hurt them.

China wants to cut smoking rates, too. Each year, it smokes nearly half of the world’s cigarettes.

That’s double the number of the next four countries combined.

That’s true despite capital Beijing’s efforts to set an example – with a tough anti-smoking law, enacted a year and a half ago.

It outlaws smoking in public places like offices, restaurants, hotels and hospitals.

Those who violate the ban are fined. A similar nationwide ban is in the works.

For now, volunteers in Beijing, wearing blue vests, are out to educate the public.


Dr. Rob Crane on smoking prevention and tobacco growth around the world 

Dr. Rob Crane is the president of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, an organization working to increase the awareness of nicotine addiction. He joins Elaine Reyes to discuss how governments are working to reduce the sale of tobacco and how it impacts developing countries.