Cigarette Sales Fall to Lowest in 55 Years

NEW YORK Last year, 378 billion cigarettes were sold in the U. S. That may sound like a lot, but it is the lowest number sold here since 1951, the National Association of Attorneys General said today.

Also down, by over 4 percent, is the number of cigarettes sold between 2004 and 2005, according to figures from the Tobacco Tax Bureau. That is the sharpest one-year decrease in sales since 1999, according to the attorneys general.

Overall, sales are down by 21 percent since state attorneys general negotiated the landmark 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which imposed public health restrictions on the advertising and marketing of cigarettes.

The falling numbers of smokers are “historic” and “a huge public health success,” the Washington D.C.-based organization said.

“The work of the attorneys general in negotiating the tobacco MSA focused attention on the conduct of the tobacco companies and the dangers of cigarette smoking,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, co-chair of the national organization, in a statement.

The National Association of Attorneys General encourages cooperation among states on legal and law enforcement issues. In the last year, it conducted several tobacco-related initiatives that aimed to limit the influence cigarette companies have over consumers.

—Brandweek staff report