Yesmoke becomes Italian
…On August 7th 2007, 7 years, 7 months and 7 days after Yesmoke's birth (that has been at the precise stroke of the advent of the third millennium), they inaugurated “Yesmoke”, the first Italian factory of cigarette “Post monopolio”. Different from the giant multinational cigarette producers, Yesmoke's factory will not be rigorously “top-secret”.
The forces on the field
While the “smugglers” of the Yesmokes website have constantly repeated that the payment of customs duties on products acquired by mail order, without other extra taxes and penalties, would be the logical and correct solution in everyonès interest, Big Tobacco and its backers seemed to be doing everything they can to confirm the positive function that Adam Smith, great Scottish philosopher and economist, attributed to smugglers: “They open the breach for the free market”.
With their attacks against online sales, Big Tobacco has drawn everyonès attention to some interesting and constructive issues, that go well beyond the tobacco market, and one of these days, these issues will become weapons pointed against Big Tobacco itself.
The free market
In the future, manufacturers will no longer be able to put their own market strategies before the free market and the improvement of the quality of life that the Web offers us. Today many frontiers of commerce have been overcome: we can buy and sell, with the same credit card anywhere in the world regardless of the local currency. With these prospects, both sellers and buyers, as Adam Smith taught us, will do everything possible to get around any restraints to the free circulation of products imposed by manufacturers.
When Philip Morris attacked Yesmoke for selling to Americans Marlboro cigarettes destined to the European and Asian markets, that were different in taste and, especially in their composition, Yesmoke raised the old problem of consumer rights, rights that were being violated shamelessly in all the countries of the world by these big cigarettes producers, often backed by weak or corrupt politicians.
It is evident today that, in spite of the favourable outcome for Philip Morris, on all points in all the suits brought against Yesmoke, a company cannot think it can go on much longer using its consumers as guinea pigs, deciding, based on top-secret criteria, the greater or lesser dose of cancer-inducing additives to give them.
Yesmoke has brought something new to the world of tobacco: free competition. Before this, Big Tobacco, so able in subsidising politicians, is unprepared and undefended. And another point to be discussed, after consumer rights, will be the prices.
Is the price we have to pay for a packet of cigarettes right? Is what the World Health Organization declares, that in spite of the fact that prices of cigarettes has seen a constant increase in the past decades, the percentage that goes to the State has dropped by one half compared to 1965?
Regardless of past and future vicissitudes, today we have to admit that the innovative Online Store has given life, thanks to its popularity, to a new “brand” in every sense. It is a product with the features needed to bring the innovations that the market is demanding, innovations that Big Tobacco will inevitably have to come to terms with, and in the near future.
Yesmoke is moving to Turin
In the summer of 2005, the “smugglers” and perhaps, also the “Mafia”, in spite of the intimidations of the Italian authorities, began moving to Italy, to Turin, where they are building a factory with a production capacity of 50 million cartons per year (10 billion cigarettes).
The opening of this new plant in Italy, in the European Community, was decided for reasons of a fiscal nature, determined by the destination markets of the goods.
Yesmoke cigarettes, in fact, it will be available in shops of the European Community. So, production in Europe was an obligated decision.
“How in the world can you hope to produce cigarettes in a country like this?” the sceptics immediately asked. Italy, in fact, is the “free hunting preserve” of Philip Morris.
Philip Morris has freewheeled in Italy for over 30 years: it swept over the country with contraband and it has a bill to pay of billions of dollars in tax evasion. What's strange is that we never hear anything about it.
But Yesmoke is used to speaking out, because we believe there is nothing more constructive than truthful and open conflict. And we expect this is about to begin very soon; in fact, Italy is the ideal country for it.
The Turin factory will be a copy of the plant of a multinational, with the same machinery used by Big Tobacco, in all the production phases.
It will be autonomous in all its tobacco treatment processes and in the production of filters, and it will even have its own in–house printing plant.
It will be the only cigarette factory present today on the Italian territory. But different from the factories of multinational producers that are rigorously top-secret, Yesmoke's factory will have its doors open for guided visits.
Italy is a country where the power of the tobacco multinationals is absolute and undisturbed. We are all anxious to see what's going to happen!
The factory at work
After a long but confident wait, on August 7th 2007, 7 years, 7 months and 7 days from the birth of the online shop, Yesmoke (occurred precisely on the starting stroke of the third millennium), Yesmoke's Settimo Torinese factory has received its license for the production. (Settimo, literally “Seventh”, in Roman times was the seventh mile of the road that went from Turin to Piacenza).
In the issue no. 217, dated 18 September 2007, the “Gazzetta Ufficiale” of the Italian Republic (the official journal for the dissemination of legislative texts and public acts) has formalized the grant of the cigarette production license to Yesmoke.
After all the necessary tests and inspections, the actual mass production is started on 18 September.
Skeptics were sure that somebody would sink this intruder in their markets. However, the impression is that the plan of financial damage of the tobacco mafia “for the benefit of the State Treasury”, is the plot of a perfect story, too interesting for spectators to miss.
And those who have followed this exciting show from the start can now say: “I was there”… just like in the finest Hollywood productions.
The war against parasites of all species and of all political colours has begun. The new, very awkward company is looking for a head–on confrontation in an open field. Lawyers, judges and information sources will be on the front lines. Will smokers like Yesmokes cigarettes? Many people hope so!