We're quitting smoking, so why is big tobacco booming?

smoking rates in the UK have been

falling for decades but at the same time

cigarette companies are making more

money than ever they'll tell you they're

moving away from cigarettes and towards

healthier alternatives but if you look a

little closer that's nowhere near the

full story so what's really behind big

tobacco's big profits cigarette makers

are in a bit of a bind public opinion

against smoking has swayed so far that

they essentially can't endorse their own

product so to stay relevant they've

engineered an image overhaul as a

company who have embarked upon a path of

achieving a smoke-free future so the

bulk of their marketing in the UK would

suggest that they're moving towards

healthier alternatives like faiths but

if you look at the financial reports

profits from these new products don't

come anywhere near what traditional

cigarettes bring in from what we can see

from their company accounts the clear

majority of their profits still are

earned from combustion tobacco products

such as traditional cigarettes it's

basically like printing money because

it's basically nicotine wrapped in

various layers of paper and all of those

things are cheap to make but they can

sell them for a very high price because

people are addicted in 2015 the main six

tobacco manufacturers and more profit

than coca-cola Walt Disney FedEx Google

McDonald's and Starbucks combined and

you don't make that kind of money in a

smoke free world so despite their

product killing most of its users

they're soldiering on and with every new

hurdle that tactics have to get a little

smarter so tax increases on tobacco are

a big problem for the manufacturers

increasing taxes is the most effective

policy we have for reducing smoking they

should increase the cost of cigarettes

we have done steadily and it works I

want to ask some people how this has

impacted their smoking habit

and if you've been affected by high

prices and let us know in the comments


how's the price chamber since you guys

for the pros it used to be like 630 now

they're like at least eight sexy super

super super spensive what is that price


so government taxing it all the time to

try and cut down will smokin doing he's

doing it I don't know actually probably

the government to kind of discourage it

actually a lot of the price increase

coming from the people who are making

the cigarettes

between 2013 and 2015 the government

increased taxes across all price

brackets of cigarettes at the same time

the manufacturers hikes their prices for

premium cigarettes by another fifty

three pence but for a pack of the

cheapest cigarettes they actually took

money off six pence to be exact

it's called price shifting and it's a

way for manufacturers to keep their

profits up overall without losing the

smokers who can't afford a price rise

and by maintaining the availability of

cheap tobacco they're also reducing

motivation to quit this means especially

the poorest smokers will miss out on the

benefits of a tobacco tax it's keeping

profits up for now but there's a flaw in

the plan two-thirds of long-term smokers

will actually die due to smoking related

illness so the tobacco industry has a

fundamental problem a lot of their

existing consumers will die some other

existing consumers will quit so to

continue to sell cigarettes over time

they need new people to start smoking

so finding new customers is pretty

tricky if you can't advertise market or

even display your products in a shop but

lucky for manufacturers this whole world

of opportunity has opened up when you're

looking at a heavily regulated industry

but still have billions of ad dollars to


what better tool is there than social

media where they

can access billions of young people on

platforms that are very under regulated

in this area an influence of working for

the cigarette brand Lucky Strikes shared

this document with Caroline's team which

is basically a contract it tells them

when they should post to their followers

how many posts are expected to do the

hash tags they're meant to use and the

general call image the best place to be

writing this was completely secret

marketing you know these were not

influencers who were saying here's a

post I was paid to promote this was part

of an industry-wide strategy to make

smoking look cool again to an entire new

generation of people online to make it

look like smoking was all over your

newsfeed and to make it look like

smoking was normal these tactics work as

a short-term fix but they can't keep big

tobacco in business forever with a

customer base that won't stop dying what

they really need is a clean slate so

where do you find millions of people who

haven't been bombarded with anti-smoking


they're targeting markets in Asia and

India Indonesia Southeast Asia Africa

and so they're shifting the epidemic

away from the developed countries into

the less developed countries they're

doing all of the things that we've made

illegal in the UK they advertised a

market to children they put their

products in places where consumers are

going to see those brands they try to

make those products in glamorous and

very Western so they make people want to

engage in this smoking behavior so I've

been exchanging a few emails with

faribault species the guardian's health

editor she's done loads of work about

big tobacco's shady tactics in the

developing world

definitely Africa has been targeted when

he started looking into it what did she

find there's a lot of lobbying by the

industry a lot of it was crazy threats

they were putting government ministers


trying to persuade them not to pass a

legislation we actually got hold of

various letters from tobacco companies

using lis lists ik language to

government ministers who simply don't

know as much about it other companies do

so they're saying look you're going to

be in breach of international

regulations risks having damaging

consequences on Togo's economy and

business environment so you know your

country is going to go down the path if

you bring in plain packaging obviously

not true do you think that less

potential for smoking rates in for

example Kenya to be as high as they once

were in the UK unfortunately I think

there is every possibility that smoking

could take off but the World Health

Organization's doing all it can to urge

the government's on to impose

restrictions so there is a chance that

this can be nipped in the bud and I just

really hope it is so every year there's

350 million miles of cigarettes smoked

and that's enough to make a continuous

chain of cigarettes from the earth to

the Sun and back with enough left over

for several round trips to Mars it's the

most successful business enterprise in

the history of human civilization as

well as being the most deadly

if you're a smoker or an ex maker please

let us know about your relationship with

cigarettes and while the learning about

Big Tobacco changes how you think about

smoking thank you for watching and if

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