Smokers Continue Smoking
By George Anderson
Higher taxes, consumer education programs and ubiquitous no smoking signs have had little to no effect on smoking rates in the US.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the number of smokers remained stable between 1996 and 2001.
The CDC found smoking rates of as low as 13 percent of adults in some states and as high as 31 percent in others. The median for the country was approximately 23 percent according to the research.
Reuters reported “Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia were home to the most current smokers, while Utah, California and Massachusetts had some of the fewest.”
Moderator’s Comment: Should retailers be developing
a plan for exiting the tobacco category or finding ways to try and grow the
category? Please explain your reasoning.
The government would like to see smoking rates cut in
half from their present level by 2010. That makes little difference to smokers.
Those who want to smoke will continue to do so until they decide to quit.
A consumer will choose to shop at a store because they
sell tobacco. Very few will refuse to shop because a store sells cigarettes
in addition to many other products they want and need.
Anderson – Moderator]