12.5 Comparison of Australian and United States cigarettes

In Table 12.5.1, the Australian cigarette market in 1994 is compared with the US cigarette market in 1993, using data obtained from Philip Morris Cigarette Information Reports.1,2 These were the most recent and closest matching years available for comparison using the relevant tobacco industry documents.

There were some marked contrasts between the Australian and US markets in the 1990s, although both Australia and the US had been pioneers of the 'low tar' strategy in the 1960s. The most remarkable difference between the Australian and US markets at this time is the difference in tar and nicotine yields, whether one looks simply at the range of products available (as in Table 12.5.1,) or looks at sales-weighted data. The sales weighted average tar and nicotine yields in Australia in 1994 were 6.8mg and 0.70mg respectively, as compared with 12.6mg and 0.93mg in the US in 1993. Thus, by the mid 1990s, Australia had gone much further down the 'low tar' path than had the United States.

Table 12.5.1
Comparison of performance and construction of Australian and US brands 1993–94

 

 

Australia 1994

United States 1993

(102 brands)

(204 brands)

Mean

Range

Mean

Range

Performance

Tar yield

5.6mg

(1-12.4)

10.8mg

(0.8-19)

Nicotine yield

0.59mg

(0.16-1.24)

0.83mg

(0.12-1.52)

CO yield

5.5mg

(1.4-11.2)

10.7mg

(1.2-18.6)

T/N ratio

9.0:1

(5.6-12.4)

12.6:1

(6.7-15.7)

Puff count

6.9

(5.6-8.5)

9.0

(5.9-13.3)

Draw resistance

104.1

(55-145)

116.9

(49-174)

Filtration

Filter length

22.1mm

(16.9-26)

27.6mm

(18.9-34.8)

Filter weight

110mg

(77-151)

168mg

(70-320)

Filter ventilation

44% )

(0-80)

28%

(0-83)

Tobacco rod

Tobacco weight

546mg

(435-685)

707mg

(416-905)

Nicotine %

2.3

(1.6-2.6)

2.0

(1.7-2.5)

Sugars %

9.6

(7-12)

6.6

(2.9-8.7)

Expanded stem %

16.1

(10-22)

2.6

(0-12)

Expanded leaf %

21.1

(14-30)

15.4

(0-51)

Reconstituted

0

 

22.2

(11-32)

Tobacco %

       

Packing density mg/cm3

201.7

(189-231)

227.9

(169-265)

Source: Data from Laffoon and Fenner1 and Ruff2

During the period in which standard ISO tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields were assumed to reflect smokers' intakes, this would have been seen as a considerable accomplishment for public health in Australia. However, given what is now known about compensatory smoking, it is implausible that Australian smokers would have significantly lower nicotine intakes than US smokers as a result of smoking lower yield cigarettes. Rather, the Australian industry was able to engineer cigarettes with very high delivery-elasticity and then market these brands successfully.

Table 12.5.1, includes a substantial number of 100mm and 120mm U.S. brands, whereas all Australian brands were less than 100mm in length. However, the other Australia–U.S. contrasts seen in Table 12.5.1, all remain when the 100mm and 120mm U.S. brands are excluded.

The picture gained from looking at the contrasts in how Australian and US brands were constructed is consistent with Australian brands being engineered for high elasticity or 'consumer demand responsiveness'. 3 The very high level of filter ventilation in Australian brands in comparison with US brands is particularly noteworthy. As well as having a much higher average level of filter ventilation at the whole market level, Australian brands at any particular tar yield level had higher average filter ventilation levels than US brands with those tar yields. Australian brands were also markedly lighter in weight than US brands. Australian brands had shorter and lighter weight filters (which is consistent with lower filtration efficiency) and lighter weight tobacco rods. When machine-tested, Australian brands had lower puff counts than the US brands with similar tar yields but higher tar and nicotine per puff. BAT cigarette designer, Werner Schneider, set out precisely these criteria for producing cigarettes with maximum "consumer demand responsiveness." 3

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References

1. Laffoon S and Fenner R. Philip Morris U.S.A. C.I. Report March 31,. Philip Morris U.S.A. Bates No: 2057819485/9609 1993, [viewed September 15, 2003] . Available from: http://www.pmdocs.com/PDF/2057819485_9609_0.PDF

2. Ruff R. Philip Morris Limited (Australia) C.I. report no. 84. Philip Morris: 1994.

3. Schneider W. Consumer demand responsiveness (R & D Report No. 126E). Brown & Williamson, 1992.

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