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Wall Street Analyst: Global Noose Tightening on Big Tobacco

March 15, 2013


As smoking has declined in higher-income countries, multinational tobacco companies such as Philip Morris International have targeted low- and middle-income countries as their main opportunities to increase sales and profits.

Now, these countries are fighting back by enacting strong measures to reduce tobacco use and save lives, and Wall Street analysts are taking note. Writing in Forbes, analyst Charles Sizemore concludes, 'Though enforcement varies from country to country, there is really no such thing as a 'tobacco friendly' country anymore. Everywhere you look, the noose is getting tighter.'

The latest country in the tobacco control spotlight is Russia, where President Vladimir Putin recently signed a strong law that requires smoke-free public places and prohibits most tobacco marketing.

Sizemore also highlights progress in Latin America, where 14 countries are now smoke-free. China and India, two of the world's largest tobacco consumers, are also starting to make progress.

Countries bound by the international tobacco control treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, are implementing proven strategies to reduce tobacco use. These include higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, tobacco advertising bans and large, graphic health warnings.

Sizemore's advice for those considering Big Tobacco as an investment? Stay away: 'I consider these stocks as toxic as the cigarettes they sell.'