STEEP Marketing Analysis - Social and Technological Tobacco Profitting


Low socioeconomic status and differential health outcomes due to smoking. In the world's Tobacco Industry, their steady external environment allows the top companies such as British American Tobacco to pursue similar strategies and revenues remain steady for the top companies. Advertising and promotion is a vital part of the tobacco industry's business effort, ethical dilemmas not so much. The companies know that smoking satisfies an important psycho-social needs. Controls on smoking in public and work places also undermine tobacco's social acceptability which causes consumption to decrease among the “new smokers” and “old smokers.” 

Maintaining the social acceptability of smoking in Europe which is threatened by anti-smoking strategies designed to polarize smokers and non-smokers has not caused the social stigma that it has in the USA. The companies fight to “protect and support smokers in a reasonable, responsible and consistent way” (WHO). How soon will it be before the government starts to interfere  in other health areas of our lives with other “bad” foods like McDonalds or caffeine. The social environment has been found to be harsher also due to, what the industry refers to as “extremists” and referred to by others as the World Health Organization.

Despite social stigmatisms in USA, the industry swells in developing countries and other asian nations such as Japan and China. Despite regulation to not market addictive and lethal products to children, a moral compass followed globally, society cannot tell its government which companies they are allowed to have private meetings with and this forms the social code that governments allow their people to live by, In the UK, Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International met with the UK government this year resisting package standardization and has proven effective for the time being (ASA).

Social activists, identify as a Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), and the WHO focuses on smoking and the health effects of smoking among young people and also offers hotlines for old users who wish to quit. The information provided by the WHO's website is cloaked in pseudo-objectivity with multiple logical fallacies most notability that correlating information among smokers and “risky” behavior does not demonstate a causation despite listing a number of risky activities. Other countries are much unlike the USA socially- which is no surprise- but in a major factor despite the US's global social reputation is that society has been influenced by the big-budgeted “Turth” campaigns which have reduced usage in key states. Prohibiting their access to tobacco could potentially cause serious social unrest, and would certainly feed a black market (Barros).

Tobacco use as a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death in the world:

 Hatched areas indicate proportions of deaths related to tobacco use and are coloured according to the column of the respective cause of death.*Other tobacco-caused diseases: mouth and oropharyngeal cancers, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, other cancers, cardiovascular diseases other than ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and digestive diseases.Source:World Health Organization (1)


Due to advancement in technology making cigarettes is now fully automated by robotic-machines, from processing the tobacco to cutting cigarette paper and filters. Packaging is also automated, cigarettes are filled into respective brand packs, wrap in protective film and placed in cartons. This has been a rare instance of technology helping the industry.
Advancement in medical science like the 1988 report of the US Surgeon General identified cigarette smoking as nicotine addiction (WHO). The itnernet and television offer access to information and incentives to users to not start smoking, help for those who wish to quit, and access to unbiased and unfiltered information. For example, online the ASA defines five forces of misleading advertising which they hope to fight in 2013: Free Trials, Misleading pricing, Daily deals, Misleading testimonials, Misleading health claims. It is clear the tobacco industry continues to fall into at least two.

Electronic cigarettes also known as 'E-cigarettes' also are a technological break-through that are causing more quitters but decreasing profits only marginally as the top 4 companies continue to report positive annual sales records and forecasts. The selling of counterfeit products- by using technology- has caused a “unique” look and higher-priced and more technologically advanced product branding strategies. 
British American Tobacco has also developed and promoted new cultivation methods that to replenish soil by using organic substance for better fertility structure as well as having environmental benefit. It is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death, including heart disease and several cancers and lung diseases (WHO, 209). Despite the companies having advanced manufacturing and packaging technologies the simplicity of just producing tobacco has underdeveloped countries such as Malawi and countries like Bulgaria relying on tobacco farming as a main export crop.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing to the social and technological aspects of the tobacco industry defies conventional approaches to evaluation. There is no possibility of a control group, especially because the tobacco industry operates globally. Normal tools to monitor consumer marketing, such as usage and attitude surveys, or “marketing communication awareness monitors” are of any help (Blass, Kurup). Stakeholder marketing is too subtle and covert to be effective as demonstrated in the meetings of the four large companies and the UK's parliament. In addition, for an industry who “deals in selling death” their ethical grey area has shown time and time again to be maliciously focused on profits alone. 

Recently, on April 17, 2013 a Cancer Research UK Press Release revealed Japan Tobacco International (JTI)  breached terms laid out in the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) with regards to claims of a growing black market and packaging of their products. Under embargo from the ASA, JTI made multiple misleading and highly publicized claims of profit loss and increased tobacco smuggling despite still reporting profits and research very blatantly demonstrating otherwise (WSJ Online ). 

The Wall Street Journal Online article “Japan Tobacco Expects Record Full-Year Profit” published April 25 of this year, the ability to convert the yen into various currencies has helped give one of the three largest companies in this industry in terms of sales volume a big boost which has been technologically difficult to do on a global scale until now.

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