FTC Releases Reports on Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures for 2017

Cigarette sales declined from 2016 levels

The number of cigarettes that the largest cigarette companies in the United States sold to wholesalers and retailers nationwide declined from 240.5 billion in 2016 to 229.1 billion in 2017, according to the most recent Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report.

The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion decreased from $8.71 billion in 2016 to $8.64 billion in 2017. Price discounts paid to cigarette retailers ($6.19 billion) and wholesalers ($1.20 billion) were the two largest expenditure categories in 2017. Combined spending on price discounts increased from $7.25 billion in 2016 to $7.38 billion in 2017, accounting for 85.5 percent of industry spending.

According to the 2017 Smokeless Tobacco Report, smokeless tobacco sales decreased from 131.4 million pounds in 2016 to 130.9 million pounds in 2017. The revenue from those sales rose, from $3.98 billion in 2016 to $4.20 billion in 2017.

Spending on advertising and promotion by the major manufacturers of smokeless tobacco products in the U.S. decreased from $759.3 million in 2016 to $718.3 million in 2017. As with cigarettes, price discounts made up the two largest spending categories, with $347.1 million paid to retailers and $91.4 million paid to wholesalers. Combined spending on price discounts totaled $438.5 million – or 61 percent of all spending in 2017, down from the $467.8 million spent in 2016.

The Commission has issued the Cigarette Report periodically since 1967 and the Smokeless Tobacco Report periodically since 1987.

The vote to issue the reports was 5-0, with the Commission issuing a separate statement. (The staff contact is Michael Ostheimer, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2699.)

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