Americans Are Smoking Less, Chewing More

Cigarette sales are down, even as tobacco companies spend more money on advertising, a recent report found.

The number of cigarettes sold in the United States is down, but smokeless tobacco sales (including dry snuff, moist snuff, plug/twist, and loose leaf chewing tobacco) are up. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry increased the money it spends on marketing to $9.6 billion in 2012. That’s comes out to more than $1 million spent each hour to push tobacco sales.

This is according to new reports from the Federal Trade Commission on cigarette and smokeless tobacco sales and marketing expenditures from 2012. The FTC found that the majority of the spike in marketing dollars was due to an increase in spending on price discounts, which are discounts paid to cigarette retailers or wholesalers in order to lower the price consumers pay for cigarettes.

The FTC said:

Spending on price discounts increased from $7.0 billion in 2011 to $7.8 billion in 2012. The price discounts category was the largest expenditure category in 2012, as it has been each year since 2002; in 2012, it accounted for 85.1 percent of industry spending.

According to a statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the large amount of money spent on price discounts is concerning because it enables kids to more easily afford to purchase tobacco products.

“The 2012 Surgeon General’s report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, concluded that ‘the industry’s extensive use of price-reducing promotions has led to higher rates of tobacco use among young people than would have occurred in the absence of these promotions,'” the tobacco-free kids organization said.

Other findings of the tobacco reports include:

  • Cigarette advertising. The largest cigarette companies in the United States spent $9.17 billion on advertising, including price discounts, in 2012. In 2011, it spent $8.37 billion.
  • Smokeless tobacco advertising. Major tobacco manufacturers spend $435.7 million on advertising in 2012.
  • Cigarette sales. The sale of cigarettes declined from 273.6 billion in 2011 to 267.7 billion in 2012.
  • Smokeless tobacco sales. The sale of chew went from 122.7 million pounds in 2011 to 125.5 million pounds in 2012.

For more information, click on the FTC’s cigarette report and the smokeless tobacco report.

Are you a tobacco user? What do you think of the amount of money the tobacco industry spends on marketing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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