Tobacco Consumers at a Glance

Euromonitor report details company's findings on tobacco consumers

Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Senior Editor

LONDON -- A recent report, from London-based strategy research firm Euromonitor International, contains a surprising forecast that the global smoking population will grow by almost the population of Poland by 2014.

According to the study, Switcher, Quitter or Resister? In Search of the Tobacco Consumer, there will be 35 million more smokers in 2014 than in 2009, based on historic and projected adult population changes and prevalence changes.

"The rise in the smoking population will be despite prevalence falling in 77% of the 80 countries analyzed by Euromonitor International," [image-nocss] according to the report.

Due to population growth, 76% of the world's smokers in 2014 will be located in the developing countries of Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa (compared with 74% in 2008), the report also notes.

Euromonitor also examined the potential effect of pricing and graphic health warnings on tobacco consumers.

The report referred to price as the "primary instrument of tobacco control," with volumes dropping most in developed countries where prices are the highest. Conversely, however, a look at price elasticity found that a 10% price increase could translate to a 4% volume fall in developed markets vs. an 8% volume fall in developing markets.

As for graphic warnings, the report looked at smoking prevalence in New Zealand, which fell from 25% to 20% a year after graphic health warnings were introducedalthough the warnings were not regarded as the only factor.

The report also cited a 2008 study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics in Egypt, which found the introduction of graphic health warnings affected neither cigarette sales nor prevalence.

"Despite this finding, health warnings must be regarded as a general contributory factor in falling smoking prevalence in the majority of the world's markets," according to the report. "However, public smoking bans have a more immediate and measurable effect on tobacco product consumers."