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Did plain packaging cause rise in sales?

| March 24, 2014

Deliveries of tobacco products to retailers in Australia rose slightly last year for the first time in at least five years, despite the introduction of standardized packaging aimed at deterring smokers from indulging their habit, according to a Reuters story by Martinne Geller quoting industry sales figures.

In 2013, the first full year of standardized packaging, tobacco companies sold* the equivalent of 21.074 billion cigarettes (cigarettes and fine-cut cigarette-stick equivalents) in Australia, according to industry data provided by Philip Morris International. *The sales represent the amount of tobacco shipped to retailers, not retail sales to consumers or consumption.

The sales figure was up 0.3 percent on that of 2012 and reversed four straight years of declines.

The reason for the upturn was unclear, but one suggestion was that, with cigarette sales down (0.1 percent to 18.75 billion) and fine-cut sales up (3.4 percent to 2.32 cigarette-stick equivalents), smokers might be trading down to products that they could afford buy more of.

Meanwhile, a study, commissioned by the Cancer Society of Victoria and published in The British Medical Journal found that among 500 Australian smokers, most believed their cigarettes were less satisfying and of lower quality than before standardized packaging came in, with most also thinking more about quitting.

The full story, which mentions also the illicit trade, is at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/24/tobacco-data-idUSL2N0MI1D720140324.

Category: Breaking News

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