While companies can be criticized for disloyal business practices, they can also be accused of the opposite. Indeed, the tobacco market was recently suspected of anti-competitive business practices, and major tobacco companies including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco International were accused of price-fixing.
After months of investigation, the French Competition Authority finally dismissed the charges. However, authorities will continue to keep a close eye on Big Tobacco companies like Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Gitanes, and Winston.
The tobacco companies were charged with agreeing to an anti-competition clause for the production and distribution of tobacco-related products. Such business practices are strictly prohibited in order to prevent executives from promoting smoking, especially amongst young people.
An investigation that is now closed
After numerous suspicions, Big Tobacco was exonerated of all charges and may indeed be innocent. It is important to note, however, that after a net loss in tobacco sales, tobacco companies still have a lot to worry about, with historic drops in sales of 9.1% in the first quarter of 2018, and 20% since the month of March.
Tobacco companies insist that they haven’t done anything illegal to maintain their share of the market. They are now turning towards new alternatives, including vaping, to keep their heads above water.
Now that the French authorities have dropped all charges, it appears the tobacco companies are satisfied. While Seita and BAT FRANCE have “taken note” of the decision, others such as Logista France are openly happy about the news. The majority of tobacco companies add that they work, “wholly within the confines of the law,” contrary to what anti-tobacco advocates want the public to believe.
For the time being, anti-tobacco organization can no longer suggest that tobacco companies are engaged in price-fixing cahoots. For the time being, they will have to focus on the numerous studies that continue to prove just how dangerous smoking really is. Nonetheless, while the public is aware of these dangers, many people continue to smoke.