Policies that were implemented 14 years ago to discourage smoking were initially successful judging by statistics but the practice is back on the rise in Mexico.
The market research firm Euromonitor International found that legal cigarette sales dropped 35% between 2005 and 2013, from 45.9 billion to 29.9 billion a year, prompting the firm to forecast that the market would continue to drop 1.4% annually during the following five years.
But the forecast was off.
Now Euromonitor has revealed the tobacco industry saw some recovery in 2016 when sales increased by almost 3%, bolstered my new smokers aged 15 to 24.
Higher tobacco taxes imposed in 2011 failed to hold back industry revenues, which were up more than 64% in 2016.
According to the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases, 1.6 billion cigarette packs were sold between January and June 2016, almost 43% more than during the same period of 2015.
It was in 2003 that the federal government began adopting measures to curb smoking based on World Health Organization recommendations that have been cited for bringing about a big decline in cigarette sales worldwide.
The government began taxing cigarette sales and put limits on their advertising. Tobacco companies were also required to include warning messages informing consumers of the health risks to which they were exposing themselves by smoking and restrictions were placed on smoking in restaurants and bars.
The tobacco industry was understandably unhappy and not optimistic.
Philip Morris International lamented in 2014 that “government actions and social approval of smoking restrictions have caused a drop in the industry’s volume in many of our markets, and we expect those factors to continue . . . .”
That they did not is an issue for a group of non-governmental organizations that on Monday presented a report saying that Mexico’s performance in terms of anti-smoking policies has been “disappointing.”
The document gave Mexico 5.5 points out of 10 for falling behind in creating policies to protect people from cigarette smoke, enforcing advertising prohibitions and imposing higher taxes on tobacco.
The chairman of the Mexican Council Against Tobacco Use said it was necessary to send out a message that emphasizes the damage smoking causes to society.
“We must not demonize smokers,” Dr. Juan Zinser Sierra told a press conference, “because they are just victims of this damaging vice, and need the support and help of society and its institutions.”
“It is the industry that we must watch, because it misleads the population, especially the young, promoting equally harmful alternatives like electronic cigarettes, which have not even been proved to aid in quitting smoking,” he asserted.
Source: Milenio (sp)