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Covid pandemic blamed for 25% drop in cigarette sales

An estimated 15 million Mexicans smoke

A tobacco company executive has blamed the coronavirus pandemic for a slump in cigarette sales of almost 25% in Mexico last year.

Smokers bought just under 2.02 billion packs of cigarettes in the first 11 months of 2020, according to the national statistics agency Inegi. The figure represents a reduction of 24.6% compared to the 2.67 billion packs purchased in the same period of 2019.

The annual decline in sales for the first 11 months of 2020 was the largest on record.

The newspaper El Financiero calculated that Mexico’s approximately 15 million smokers each smoked an average of 2.8 packs of cigarettes per week between January and November last year compared to 3.8 packs per week in the same period of 2019.

Tadeu Marroco, finance director at British American Tobacco, acknowledged that the cigarette market has declined significantly in Mexico.

cigarette sales
Percent change year to year is indicated in blue. milenio el financiero

“We’ve been very affected by Covid-19,” he said during a call with analysts.

Some people have apparently stopped smoking altogether or cut back due to concerns about how they, as smokers, would be affected if they contracted the coronavirus. Others may have reduced their tobacco intake because they had less disposable income last year. The pandemic and associated restrictions caused millions of Mexican to lose their jobs or see their income decline.

Another factor in the slump in cigarette sales could be the shift towards the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. An estimated 1.3 million people use vapes in Mexico even though their importation and sale here is banned.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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