Tobacco is the only consumer product in the world that when used as intended kills half of its users. Despite a significant decline in smoking rates in the last few decades about 3.3 million Australians continue to smoke every day resulting in a financial burden of more than $31 billion each year.
While the Australian and the wider global community is struggling financially from the burden caused by smoking ‘Big Tobacco’ continues to profit. Tobacco companies are estimated to make about $10,000 in profit from every smoker who dies.
The global tobacco industry is primarily made up of five companies that collectively control about 90% of the world’s cigarette market, four of which are publicly traded corporations. In total, the tobacco industry produces more than 5,400 billion cigarettes a year. The biggest single market is China, with around 350 million smokers they account for more than 40% of the total global market.
The ‘Big Four’ international tobacco companies account for three quarters of the market outside China.
- Phillip Morris International
- British American Tobacco
- Japan Tobacco
- Imperial Tobacco
Australia’s tobacco market is dominated by three major companies which are subsidiaries of three of the ‘Big Four’ international tobacco companies.
- British American Tobacco Australia
- Phillip Morris (Australia) Limited
- Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited
In 2009 the total revenue from all three companies was more than $2.8 billion. Despite their high profits, the tobacco industry is known as the least reputable industry in the world. A Western Australian study in 1988, a time when the industry was still publicly denying that smoking caused disease, reported that 75% of respondents stated that tobacco industry representatives were ‘not at all believable’ and even rated than lower than a used car salesmen (69%). This number has continued to grow in recent years. Not only does the industry kill half of their users and profit from their deaths they also lie and use dirty tactics to entice the next generation of smokers. Don’t believe us?