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WASHINGTON -- Tobacco companies are spending more than ever to pitch their brands, including a record $9.57 billion in 2000, when they managed to stem a historic slide in cigarette consumption, according to a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report.
The industry's rising promotional expenditures reflect a trend away from traditional advertising to point-of-purchase displays in stores and giveaways to smokers. Promotional spending by the six top manufacturers rose 16 percent above the 1999 total of $8.24 billion, which itself was a huge increase over expenditures prior to 1998, when tobacco companies settled lawsuits filed by state attorneys general, the Los Angeles Times reported.
With cigarettes sales in 2000 of just more than 20 billion cigarette packs, promotional spending came to nearly 50 cents a pack.
Cigarette consumption has fallen in nearly each of the past 20 years, but the promotions might have stemmed the decline at least temporarily, the report said.
In its marketing report, the FTC said consumption rose by about one-half of 1 percent to 413.5 billion cigarettes in 2000. But the agency, which reports on cigarette sales and advertising annually, also cited U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates showing a 1.1-percent decline in cigarettes smoked.
Due to rising population, per-capita sales fell about 9 percent, the FTC said.