10.2.1 The global industry
The largest tobacco company in the world (measured by cigarette volume) is the state-owned China National Tobacco Corporation.1 Five of the 10 largest cigarette factories in the world are located in China.2 According to industry reports, China National Tobacco Corporation has approximately 98% market share in China,3 making it the single largest tobacco manufacturer in the world. Philip Morris—including both the separate Philip Morris International and US market (Altria) companies—runs second to China National Tobacco Corporation with 16.9% of the global market, followed by British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands (formerly Imperial Tobacco). See Table 10.2.1 for global market share for each of the five major tobacco companies.
Estimated percentage share of global market, 2018 (%)
*Altria is the completely separate US arm of Philip Morris.
Source: IBISWorld Pty Ltd1
i For more information on potential harm reduction products, see Chapter 18
ii For further information on snus, see Chapter 3, Section 33 and Chapter 18, InDepth 18A Smokeless tobacco
iii For more information on potential harm reduction products, see Chapter 18
iv An important exception is Altria, which broke ranks by publicly supporting the legislation that granted the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco products.
v The tobacco industry argues that it is a vital, positive contributor to the economies of some countries. For discussion, see Chapter 17, Section 17.3.4.
Relevant news and research
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. ( Last updated November 2023)
1. IBISWorld Pty Ltd. IBISWorld Industry Report C1131-GL: Global Cigarette & Tobacco Manufacturing. IBISWorld Industry Report, Melbourne, Australia: IBISWorld, 2018.
2. American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation. The Tobacco Atlas. Manufacturing. Atlanta, Georgia: American Cancer Society, 2018. Last update: Viewed Available from: https://tobaccoatlas.org/topic/manufacturing/.
3. Xu SS, Gravely S, Meng G, Elton-Marshall T, O’Connor RJ, et al. Impact of China National Tobacco Company’s ‘Premiumization’ Strategy: longitudinal findings from the ITC China Project (2006–2015). 2019:tobaccocontrol-2017-054193. Available from: https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/tobaccocontrol/early/2019/01/23/tobaccocontrol-2017-054193.full.pdf
4. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. The global cigarette industry. 2018. Available from: https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/global/pdfs/en/Global_Cigarette_Industry_pdf.pdf.
5. American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation. The Tobacco Atlas. Tobacco companies. Atlanta, Georgia: American Cancer Society, 2009. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.tobaccoatlas.org/companies.html.
6. O'Connell V. Philip Morris readies aggressive global push. The Wall Street Journal Online, 2008; 29 Jan. Available from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120156034185223519.html?mod=hpp_us_pageone
7. Philip Morris International and China National Tobacco Corporation. The China National Tobacco Corporation and Philip Morris International announce the establishment of a long-term strategic cooperative partnership. Joint Press Release from Philip Morris International and China National Tobacco Corporation, 21 December 2005., 2005, Philip Morris International and China National Tobacco Corporation: Beijing. Available from: http://www.philipmorrisinternational.com/pmintl/pages/eng/press/pr_20051221.asp.
8. Geller. UK's Imperial Brands teams up in joint venture with China Tobacco. Reuters, 2017. Available from: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imperial-brands-jv-china-idUSKBN14V28V
9. Reuters. Marlboro company buys 35% stake in Juul e-cigarette maker for $12.8bn The Guardian, 2018. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/20/juul-e-cigarette-marlboro-company-buys-stak
10. Philip Morris International. Annual Report 2018. 2019. Available from: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/IROL/14/146476/PMI-FINALFILES/index.html.
11. British American Tobacco. Corporate Website. London: British American Tobacco, 2008. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.bat.com/group/sites/uk__3mnfen.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO52AD6H?opendocument&SKN=1&TMP=1.
12. British American Tobacco. Transforming tobacco: Annual Report and Form 20-F 2018. 2018. Available from: https://www.bat.com/group/sites/UK__9D9KCY.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DOAWWGJT/$file/Annual_Report_and_Form_20-F_2018.pdf.
13. Euromonitor International. Meeting the new challenges – corporate strategy in tobacco. London: Euromonitor International, 2011. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.euromonitor.com/tobacco.
14. Imperial Tobacco Group. Corporate website. Bristol, UK: Imperial Tobacco Group, 2008. Last update: Viewed Available from: http://www.imperial-tobacco.com/index.asp.
15. Hafez N and Ling PM. How Philip Morris built Marlboro into a global brand for young adults: implications for international tobacco control. Tobacco Control, 2005; 14(4):262–71. Available from: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/cgi/reprint/14/4/262.pdf
16. Yach D and Bettcher D. Globalisation of tobacco industry influence and new global responses. Tobacco Control, 2000; 9(2):206–16. Available from: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/9/2/206
17. Callard C. Follow the money: how the billions of dollars that flow from smokers in poor nations to companies in rich nations greatly exceed funding for global tobacco control and what might be done about it. Tobacco Control, 2010; 19(4):285–90. Available from: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/19/4/285.full
18. Stanford’s Global Tobacco Prevention Research Initiative. Pinpointing the factories: where are all those 'cancer sticks' produced? Stanford, California: Stanford University, 2011. Last update: Viewed Available from: https://www.stanford.edu/group/tobaccoprv/cgi-bin/wordpress/.