How to get most smokers to quit?? - Keep On Raising The Price..

July 8, 2008 - Chief Executive Hiroshi Kimura of Japan Tobacco, the world's third-largest cigarette maker and half-owned by the Japanese government, stated in a Reuters interview that most Japanese smokers would quit if the price of cigarettes were to triple, as could happen under a proposed tax scheme. Kimura: "If prices reached 1,000 yen ($9.34) a pack (e.g., Mild Seven, the most popular cigarette in Japan at present costs 300 yen ($2.80)), 80 to 90 percent of smokers would quit and the rest would probably cut back."

The company has already seen costs rise even as it grapples with a declining domestic market, where the population is shrinking and consumers are becoming more health-conscious, resulting in a market that has contracted for nine straight years. The company's overseas tobacco business more than doubled its operating profit to 205.3 billion yen in the past year, while profit from its domestic operations slipped 9 percent to 222 billion yen as the market shrank for a ninth straight year. Japan Tobacco last year acquired Britain's Gallaher Group for about $15 billion to vastly increase its international sales. Kimura said his company hoped to expand into Asia to take advantage of its huge population, with expansion into India, Indonesia and China being considered, but did not give details. Reference: RPT-INTERVIEW-Japan Tobacco: difficult to raise cigarette prices by Elaine Lies and Ritsuko Shimizu, Reuters Alert Net, 7/7/2008. Other related news brief: Vending Machines - Japanese protecting their children from becoming life-long nicotine addicts.. Click on image to enlarge..