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Price Hikes: Smokers at the Whim of Big Tobacco

By Tyler McCanus

Wednesday August 31, 2016
cigarettes are getting more expensive
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If you are or were a smoker, did you ever feel like you were simply at the whim of Big Tobacco? That, at any given moment, the rug could be pulled out from under you? Let’s say you’re having a great week. Your work resulted in a great yield (be that crops, sales, whatever). Life isn’t easy, but it seems like things are turning a corner. You stop at a gas station to fill up and realize you are low on cigarettes. Time to pop in for a needed item. You ask for your favorite brand and fork over some cash.

“Sorry,” you hear, “that’s not enough to cover you.” Traditional tobacco cigarette prices have gone up, again. You have no recourse. Sure, maybe you could switch to a cheaper brand, but that’ll only push back the inevitable price jump they will hit you with. Besides, you like the taste of your brand. You’re used to it. It’s a routine that you’ve gotten so accustomed to and it feels almost impossible to break. You’re not alone there. It’s the story of millions of Americans and it’s been their story for entirely too long.

It’s also a story that electronic cigarettes have been trying to change. Ecigarettes have already changed the lives of millions by reducing their exposure to toxins and carcinogens, but millions more are still reliant on old analogue cigarettes. They depend on Big Tobacco for what they need, and that leaves them vulnerable. It leaves them vulnerable to a slew of health issues that come along with smoking, but it also leaves their wallet vulnerable.

Now you may say, that’s true of everything. Prices can go up for certain goods and we can’t really control that. I won’t argue with you there. Prices can go up on your favorite cereal. They can go up on the ground beef you buy. But they’ll go up because of things like supply and demand, or problems with production. With tobacco companies, prices go up for an entirely different reason.

Big Tobacco Makes You Pay For Lost Sales

Big-Tobacco-Controls-Smokers

The reason Big Tobacco raises cigarette prices has nothing to do with more demand. It also has nothing to do with the tobacco crop. No, tobacco companies raise prices for exactly the opposite reason. Demand is down, in no small part due to ecigs, which means sales are down. But cigarette makers won’t simply accept reduced profits. No, they are fully aware that they have another option. They can simply raise prices on the remaining smokers, thereby stabilizing or even raising profits.

The problem is the same one at the beginning of this post. Smokers are at the whim of Big Tobacco, or at least they sure act like it. Think about what was written in this article: “The Big 3 manufacturers of Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ITG Brands LLC have each twice raised their traditional cigarette list prices by 7 cents in the past year, as well as four times since May 2014.” All of this is done to fight the reduced sales that Big Tobacco is trying to handle. Once again, “cigarette manufacturers’ ability to get smokers to absorb rounds of price increases” is what contributed to additional revenue.

This isn’t a new story. It happens pretty much every year and it certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Ecigs are helping bring down the number of smokers out there, so the remaining ones pick up the their tab. When you go out and buy your pack of cigarettes, you’re basically paying extra for all those smokers who have stopped or made the switch to vaping. Is that fair? Of course not, but it’s the reality.

The only way to regain your power here is to remove yourself from the clutches of Big Tobacco. At a certain point, you won’t be able to take anymore. You’ll be driven to stand up for yourself and the power you want over your own life. Maybe that’s the moment when you start seriously considering alternatives such as electronic cigarettes. Maybe that’s when you browse our list of the top ecig brands on the market, see what could work best for you, and try it out.

What do you have to lose? Nothing. What does Big Tobacco have to lose? Everything.

Happy Vaping,

Tyler

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