The world,s second biggest cigarette maker, British American Tobacco, has reported a 1.4 per cent fall in sales.
But bosses of the company behind Dunhill, Pall Mall and Lucky Strike, insisted it was performing better than average, as global sales have slipped 2.5 per cent.
Unfavourable currency changes hit the business hardest, as revenues fell 8.4 per cent to £14 billion, with 667 billion cigarettes sold.
Sales fell across all regions except Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Profits before tax for the year to end of December dropped 7.2 per cent to £5.4 billion, although on a constant currency basis they rose 4.4 per cent.
Jerry Abelman, director of corporate and regulatory affairs, said focus, especially in the UK and the US, has now turned to e-cigarettes and vapourisers.
He rejected suggestions BAT and other major brands had joined the market too late.
He said: "We don’t think we’ve come late to this. The key is getting the product right. Consumers seem to trial the products and don’t seem happy with it.
"We think we understand best what consumers want and are after. It is a fragmented market but I think a company such as ours is particularly well placed."Reuse content