What are the 15 most expensive cigarette brands in the world? There are around one billion smokers worldwide according to the World Health Organization, with some 80% of them living in low- and middle-income countries. In this way, among the 10 countries with the highest percentage of smokers, the top three are North Korea, Greece and Nauru.
Given that tobacco kills around 6 million people each year, including over 600,000 people that die from second-hand smoke, countries around the world are trying to curb this habit with measures like higher taxes on cigarettes meant to increase prices, the removal of most or all publicity of cigarette brands, and warning signs on packs that have become increasingly larger over time.
Nevertheless, despite the encouraging effects of various campaigns and measures against smoking, the number of smokers is still high, as cigarettes not only cause addiction, but also give people the illusion of another lifestyle. Young people start smoking because they want to look older among their friends and classmates, while older people (including myself) “say” that they are smoking because of stress and the pressures of life. In this way, smoking is a good method of releasing stress and can make a person feel better and more energized during rough times. However, given that the feeling of stress relief when you puff on a smoke is actually due to a person getting their “fix”, it’s tough to tell how much stress relief cigarettes are actually providing in a broader sense.
However, to paraphrase Johnny Quid from “RocknRolla”, cigarettes are a major lie. On the one hand, you have a nice pack with a beautiful insignia that suggests a life of wealth and glamour, while, on the other hand, the bold message suggests that the contents of this pack might kill you. Now as some countries forbid almost any branding to be present on packs, with some governments insisting that packs should contain gross images of organs affected by smoking, smoking has become less glamorous, but still remains highly addictive.
Also, despite the lack of advertising and branding, many cigarette brands continue to prosper. In turn, this has sent the stocks of many tobacco companies soaring. For example, Reynolds American, Inc. (NYSE:RAI), which owns Camel, Pall Mall, and Kent, among other brands, has seen its share price gain 200% over the last five years, while the maker of L&M and Parliament, Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO)‘s stock has surged by 132%; shares of Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) and British American Tobacco PLC (ADR) (NYSEMKT:BTI) have enjoyed more modest gains of 27% and 30%, respectively.
However, the anti-tobacco laws make companies struggle when it comes to gaining market share, which is why lately there has been some consolidation in the space. In 2015, Reynolds American acquired Lorillard and earlier this year announced a merger with British American Tobacco, which agreed to pay $49.4 billion to create the largest publicly-traded tobacco company in the world. The deal sparked talks about a combination of Philip Morris International and Altria Group, which could reunite the Marlboro brand under one roof (currently PM markets Marlboro outside the U.S. and Altria is responsible for the brand inside the country).
Leaving the financial aspects of the industry aside, let’s take a closer look at the 15 most expensive cigarette brands in the world. The brands included in the list are available internationally, although the prices are based on their approximate cost in the U.S. Given that a significant part of the price includes the excise tax, prices may differ greatly based on location.