Considerations when using sales volume data to estimate tobacco product substitution effects

      Koumal, O.

      Conference date
      Jun 18, 2021
      Conference name
      Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2021

      Below is the transcript of the video:

      Hello, my name is Ondrej Koumal, and I work as Director Regulatory Communications at Philip Morris International. It is my pleasure to be here with you today at this year's Global Forum on Nicotine. In this short video I'd like to explore some of the considerations we need to take into account when using sales volume data to estimate tobacco product substitution effects. 

      One of the most important questions when it comes to potentially less harmful tobacco and nicotine products is their impact on cigarette consumption. Are they used to replace cigarettes or do people use them in addition to smoking?

      Population surveys are the most appropriate tool to examine this question. However, researchers may also analyze tobacco product sales volumes to gain information about any substitution effects. While this may sound lazy, it’s anything but. 

      First, we need to obtain sales volume data. For example, it can come from a market research agency that tracks sales from retailers to consumers in a subset of points of sales, which is then extrapolated to the larger geography. 

      Or, from fiscal authorities as manufacturers pay excise taxes based on the volume of tobacco products that they sell. 

      Or, from other third-party provider, which collects data on the sales from tobacco companies and distributors to the trade channel. 

      This type of data is typically readily available for traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes. 

      But cigarettes are not the only tobacco product available on the market today. We also have roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars of different shapes and sizes. In some countries, oral tobacco products are very popular. Finally, we also have novel tobacco products such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products. And most recently, nicotine pouches.  

      To be able to estimate the evolution of the marketplace, we ideally need sales volume data for all these product categories over time. But here’s a problem. The system that we described earlier and that exists for cigarettes, often does not exist for other tobacco and nicotine product categories. Therefore, the estimates for tobacco products other than cigarettes are often much less precise as they incorporate various extrapolations and assumptions. 

      Yet, despite its limitations, sales volume data can provide valuable insights that can contribute to the evaluation of the early population level impact of new tobacco products on public health. 

      To find out more, read our case study by clicking on the hyperlink shown on the screen.  I hope you enjoyed my presentation and thank you very much for joining me today.