Big Tobacco spends less to sell product, feds say

RICHMOND, Va. — The nation’s top tobacco companies spent less money on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products in recent years, according to the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission.

Numbers released Friday show cigarette marketing decreased more than 5 percent to $8.05 billion in 2010, the latest year available, compared with a year earlier. Meanwhile, cigarette sales decreased about 3 percent to 281.6 billion cigarettes in the same period.

As in years past, much of the money spent by cigarette makers, about 81 percent or $6.49 billion, was for price discounts paid to retailers and wholesalers to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers as the average price per pack continued to increase to $5.73 in 2010. Rising prices stemmed from a large federal tax increase on tobacco products in 2009, coupled with various state tax increases.

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration also was given authority to regulate the industry, which included further marketing restrictions, including a ban on tobacco companies sponsoring athletic, social and cultural events or offering free samples or branded merchandise. Several other tobacco marketing changes are being challenged in federal court.

According to the latest numbers, money spent on marketing smokeless tobacco products decreased nearly 10 percent to $444.2 million from 2009 to 2010 as sales increased 6.5 percent. Companies spent about 19 percent, or $95 million, on price discounts to wholesalers and retailers in order to reduce prices to consumers in 2010.

Smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion had reached an all-time high of $547.9 million in 2008 as tobacco companies look for cigarette alternatives for sales growth as tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma make the cigarette business tougher.

The share of Americans who smoke has fallen dramatically since 1970, from nearly 40 percent to about 20 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tesla rolls out the design for its 500-mile electric big rig

The truck will have an Autopilot system, which can maintain a set speed and slow down in traffic.

How Airbus’s A380 deal with Emirates evaporated in Dubai

It came down to concern by Emirates that Airbus might shut down the jumbo program.

Trader Joe’s recalls packaged salads over contamination fear

Turkey cranberry salads sold in Idaho, Oregon or Washington are at risk.

Equipment rental and sales business H&E opens Mukilteo shop

Company hopes to capitalize on construction occuring in northwest Washington.

New Chick-fil-A draws dozens of campers in Bothell

A second restaurant of the popular chain is opening on Thursday.

Tulalip Resort Casino to feature locally grown hazelnuts

The resort wanted to put a focus on meals created with the nut.

Alderwood Water general manager named president of state association

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District General Manager Jeff Clarke has been installed… Continue reading

Boeing earns top marks for LGBTQ workplace policies

Boeing was one of 609 businesses nationwide to earn a 100-point score… Continue reading

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Most Read