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Strong Tobacco Control Laws Slow Sales for Philip Morris International

October 24, 2013


Cigarette sales are down for Philip Morris International (PMI) in countries with strong laws to reduce tobacco use.

The international maker of the best-selling Marlboro brand is the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company.

During the third quarter of 2013, PMI reported that global cigarette sales fell both for the company and the industry as a whole, a promising sign that the tide may be turning on the global tobacco epidemic.

PMI reported big sales declines in countries that have taken strong action to reduce tobacco use:

  • In the Philippines, PMI blamed a 21 percent decline in the company’s sales on recent tobacco tax increases. Overall cigarette shipments to the country fell nearly 7 percent. Earlier this year, the Philippines implemented a significant tax increase, which is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among youth and low-income smokers.
  • In Ukraine, PMI reported that overall sales were down 14 percent and the company’s sales decreased by 6 percent. Ukraine has recently enacted strong tobacco control laws that required smoke-free public places and graphic health warnings, banned tobacco advertising and increased tobacco taxes.
  • In Turkey, PMI reported a smaller sales decline of 2 percent and an overall market drop of 5 percent. This is a promising sign in a country that has made considerable progress in reducing tobacco use. Between 2008 and 2012, adult smoking rates in Turkey fell 13 percent thanks to a comprehensive set of tobacco control policies, including a nationwide smoke-free law, graphic health warnings, multiple tobacco tax increases and a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • In Russia, PMI’s sales declined 10 percent and the overall tobacco market declined 9 percent. Earlier this year, Russia began implementing sweeping new tobacco control laws. By next June, smoking indoors will be nearly entirely banned, as will all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship.