New regulations have not snuffed out tobacco firms, either.
Countries have passed a battery of laws to fight smoking, including taxes and bans on advertising and on smoking in pubs.
Tobacco companies have fought these ferociously, suing countries such as Australia for prohibiting logos on cigarette packs, for example.
But some rules had hidden benefits.
Bans on advertising lower marketing costs and make it harder for young upstarts to challenge established brands.
Electronic cigarettes would seem another existential threat.
But they increasingly appear to be an opportunity.
Large tobacco firms are investing in such “reduced-risk” products, as they term them.
New requirements for e-cigarettes in Europe and America, finalised last year, may also hinder smaller companies’ ability to innovate.
That could help Big Tobacco gain even greater market share: large firms may be the only ones with resources to navigate complex rules.
Companies are particularly bullish on new products that heat tobacco, without burning it.
These gadgets are more satisfying to smokers than e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but no tobacco, so may encourage more smokers to switch.
Cigarette executives claim that would be a health boon: just heating tobacco avoids much of the nasty stuff that comes with combustion.
Less encouraging for health is the prospect that some smokers might switch to the new products rather than give up tobacco completely.
For years companies have sold to a shrinking share of the population.
If enough would-be quitters switch to “safer” cigarettes instead, firms could slow or even reverse what had seemed a permanent downward trend.
Far from fading away, Big Tobacco might be on the verge of a new boom.
If so, the company formed by BAT and Reynolds stands to gain, as it will combine the two firms’ research into reduced-risk products.
That will help it compete against Philip Morris, which has spent nearly twice as much on research as BAT.
Philip Morris is now seeking approval in America to market its heated tobacco product as safer than traditional cigarettes; it submitted its application to American regulators in December.
Philip Morris 现在正在美国寻找批准来推销它的加热烟草产品，称其比传统香烟更安全；12月份，它们已经向美国监管者上交了相关申请。
The firm already reckons the product might add $1bn in profit by 2020.
Andre Calantzopoulos, Philip Morris’s chief executive, describes a possible future in which his giant cigarette company phases out cigarette sales.
Andre Calantzopoulos，Philip Morris公司的首席执行官，形容了一种未来的可能性：他的烟草巨头企业将逐步淘汰零售香烟。
Many health advocates view such declarations sceptically.
For now, combustible products still account for almost all of cigarette firms’ revenue.
And tobacco remains responsible for more than one in nine of all adult deaths.
1.snuffed out 熄灭
例句:Tenzin snuffed out the candle.
2.For now 现今
例句:But for now, she is in the grip of a blind, unfocused anger
3.compete against 竞争
例句:It made it almost impossible for the smaller retailer to compete against the multiples.
4.fading away 衰落；褪色
例句:The last of evening light was fading away.