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Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke. (Books).

Tara Parker-Pope. Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke. New York: New Press, 2001.

Cigarettes are the world's most conspicuous consumer product and arguably the biggest business success of the twentieth century. In her new book Tara Parker-Pope, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, provides some interesting insights and background on this $350 billion industry.

Much of the information Parker-Pope supplies is presented in chart form. Her data is informative and often provocative. For example:

I. World's Most Popular Cigarette Brands

Marlboro (Philip Morris), with 9.4% world market share, is the leader. Mild Seven (Japan Tobacco -- 2.7%) and L&M (Philip Morris -- 1.8%) are number two and three.

II. Biggest Tobacco Companies in the World

The China National Tobacco Corp., with 32.7% global market share, is the biggest tobacco company on the planet. Philip Morris (USA), with 17.3% market share, and British American Tobacco Co. (UK), with 16.0%, are number two and three.

III. Tobacco Taxes Around the World

Great Britain taxes the most -- 79.6% of retail price. France is next, 76.1%, and then comes Belgium, 73.7%. The United States is fifteenth -- 39.5%.

IV. Average Value Per Acre of Various Crops

Tobacco is valued at $4,089 per acre. Cotton brings in $623, corn $278, hay $187, soybeans $170, and wheat $140.

V. Where Tobacco is Grown

China is the leading producer of tobacco (2,900,000 metric tons). The United States is second (688,222 metric tons) followed by India (562,750 metric tons).

VI. Smoking Prevalence of Men and Women Around the World

In Africa 29% of men and 4% of women smoke. In China 63% of men and 4% of women smoke. In the United States 35% of men and 22% of women smoke.

Cigarettes also describes how tobacco leaves are picked, processed, and packaged; details the surprising origins of some of the biggest brands; explains why tobacco is the Holy Grail of cash crops; examines Philip Morris, R. J. Reynolds, and other Big Tobacco companies in detail; reveals the vital roles the federal government, the military, and the entertainment industry have played in the success of cigarettes; and puts the ongoing arguments over cigarettes and public health in historic context.

Cigarettes provides an excellent starting point for those who want to learn more about the cigarette industry. For a more complete and exhaustive account of the history and scope of the tobacco business I recommend Richard Kluger's Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris, (New York: Knopf, 1996).
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Author:Levinson, Martin H.
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:436
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