The Tobacco Industry

2012 Tobacco Profits

The tobacco industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world where tobaccos are legally certified and allowed for sale. Tobacco Atlas Estimates $35 Billion in Tobacco Industry profits and almost 6 million annual deaths in 2012 with China holding the lions share as illustrated in the graph “Tobacco Company Profits”. The economic powerhouse that big tobacco has become is easy to understand given these enormous figures.

Types of Smokeless Tobacco

Globally, there are many different types of smokeless tobacco products available. The main types specifically include:

  • Chewing tobacco. This character is composed of loose tobacco leaves which are packaged in attractive pouches and taste sweet. A portion of tobacco is placed between the cheek and gum. Sometimes, this is also called chew and chaw. After a time, a person spits the tobacco juice. Others opt to swallow some of the tobacco juice for a more gratifying feeling. This is the most popular form of tobacco.
  • Plug. This type of chewing tobacco has been shaped like a brick with the help of a sugary substance such as molasses, some flavoring is often added. A portion is cut or bitten and again placed between the gum and cheek. Juices are spit out.
  • Twist. This type has a braided and twisted like rope shape. The method is still the same, holding it between the gum and cheek, and spitting the tobacco juice.
  • Pouches. Tobacco leaves are being shredded or ground, and available in moist or dry forms. This is packaged like tea bag pouches. This is also termed as dipping.
  • Snus. This came from Sweden, a spit-less type of tobacco. The pouch is stuck between the gum and upper lip and stays there for thirty minutes. Users do not spit but instead discard it after some time. Drier forms are directly sniffed and inhaled into the nose, this is popular in Europe and may also go under different names.
  • Dissolve tobacco products. This looks like a hard candy, dissolves in the mouth easily, which means you swallow the juices directly. No more spitting. This is sometimes called tobacco lozenges but different from the usual nicotine lozenges for quitters.

As the tobacco Industry is considered as one of the most highly profitable business that has ever existed, companies who cater to this product spend millions and billions of dollars annually to advertise their wares. According to US Statistics, in 2011, these companies invested $8.37 billion in advertising and marketing strategies. Cigarette companies have been spending advertisement dollars targeting two different age groups over the years including adolescents; age range from 12-17 and young adults or professionals 18-25 years. Targeting these markets often includes using promotional gimmicks to bring in more sales. These companies are actually finding what they want, that means revenues that double or even triple the amount of their investment in advertising.

Surveys have revealed that advertising has paved the way to entice people to buy and patronize cigarettes or the use of smokeless tobacco. Many campaigns, especially before government regulation stepped in, were targeted at adolescents because their young minds are the most vulnerable. Other market include women, where cigarette companies developed branding that would appeal more to women. Advertising projected women who used tobacco to be independent, socially desirable and attractive. The tobacco industry has been reaping overwhelming returns without regard to the danger and hazards being brought on the population. Business is booming and will continue to be successful for the cigarette companies as long as there are people who enjoy smoking, chewing tobacco and snus.


The Politics of Tobacco

A large body of evidence demonstrates that tobacco companies use a wide range of tactics to interfere with tobacco control. Such strategies include direct and indirect political lobbying and campaign contributions, financing of research, attempting to affect the course of regulatory and policy machinery and engaging in social response libility initiatives as part of public relations campaigns. Although more and more is known about tobacco industry tactics, a systematic, comprehensive guide is needed to assist regulators and policy-makers in combating those practices. Guidelines and recommendations exist for countering and monitoring industry marketing, and recommendations have been issued to refuse industry funding of certain activities, but no broad policy has been published to assist government officials, policy- makers and nongovernmental organizations in their interactions with the tobacco industry.
Learn more about the tobacco industry or see our tobacco facts.