Blogs



A collection of blog posts by ASH staff members and external colleagues/collaborators. These posts can also be found on our Medium page.

Big Tobacco is desperate to prevent ‘plain packaging’ spreading around the world


Typical cigarette packages before and after plain packaging was introduced   Coming up to a year after standardised ‘plain packaging’ was fully implemented in the UK on 20 May 2017, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) [1] and now Japan Tobacco International (JTI) [2] have claimed that it’s a failure. Why is Big Tobacco bothering, when […]

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PMI, Poverty and the Political Game


Don’t let smokescreens like the PMI-funded ‘Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’ [1] deceive you — Big Tobacco continues to pump its lethal smoked products into low- and middle-income countries, exacerbating poverty and racking up billions of dollars along the way. As the company continues to undermine tobacco control policies across the globe, [2] [3] its solemn commitment to a smokefree […]

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Tobacco’s environmental footprint


My name is Nick Voulvoulis. I’m a Professor of Environmental Technology here at Imperial College in the Centre for Environmental Policy. My work is mainly on the interface between human systems and natural systems; so understanding how we interact with the environment and live more sustainably. The problems we face around the planet has to […]

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Big tobacco’s big little lies on Twitter


“Giving back to the community matters to PMI. In #Mexico our team donated gifts to local organizations that help vulnerable youth. #InsidePMI” This Tweet, published in 2017 by Philip Morris International, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, is part of a strategic communication plan to reshape the battered reputation of the tobacco industry. In […]

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Child labour and human rights breaches in Zimbabwe tobacco farms


In the week of its AGM, ASH is urging British American Tobacco (BAT) to stop turning a blind eye to child labour and unacceptable working conditions on Zimbabwean tobacco farms which supply 6% of the company’s tobacco leaf. BAT’s ‘Supplier Code of Conduct and Child Labour Policy’, published in 2016, outlined its commitment to ensuring […]

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How British diplomats have defended BAT’s overseas activities


British diplomats have defended BAT’s overseas activities, a company under investigation for corruption by the Serious Fraud Office Despite the perennially gloomy economic forecasts about Britain, it stubbornly remains one of the world’s most powerful economies. The UK is currently the 5th largest economy by GDP [1] and a number of British companies are listed […]

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Africa must reject BAT’s fools’ gold


  Cameroon school children at point of sale where tobacco advertising is visible. Photo credit: ATCA Tih Ntiabang is the Regional Coordinator — AFRO, for the Framework Convention Alliance.   The latest ‘sustainability’ report published by British American Tobacco (BAT) states: “we are committed to operating to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.” [1] In pursuit of its […]

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BAT must be held financially responsible for the damage it causes


Headquartered in London, British American Tobacco (BAT) is one of the biggest transnational tobacco companies. This Wednesday BAT is hosting its Annual General Meeting in London. In line with the “Polluter Pays Principle” ASH is calling on the Government and political leaders to hold Big Tobacco financially responsible for the damage it causes. We must […]

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Attending the Imperial Brands AGM


On Wednesday 7 February 2018, long-time activist Cecilia Farren attended the Imperial Brands AGM. Below is her report. I’ve been attending Imperial Brands/Tobacco AGM for about 20 years. Usually alone but occasionally we gathered a group of demonstrators protesting outside with placards. One year the then CEO, Gareth Davis, had stated under oath that it […]

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The environmental harm of the tobacco lifecycle


Throughout the whole life cycle of tobacco — from farming through to manufacture and consumption — there is a pronounced threat to the environment. Despite its enormous profitability, the industry bears few of the health and environmental costs caused by producing tobacco. The life cycle of tobacco causes deep and often irreparable damage through deforestation, water consumption and the […]

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Tobacco companies violate Lao tobacco control law


The Imperial Tobacco AGM takes place today. Wendell C Balderas is Media and Communications Manager of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA). In this blog post he reveals a side of the company they would prefer to hide.   Taken on 3 February 2018 in Vientiane — Brands Bastos and A Deng from Imperial-controlled Lao Tobacco Company Ltd. with […]

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Big Tobacco should pay for the damage it does


This spring ASH is running a campaign to coincide with the annual shareholders meetings of three of the largest tobacco companies in the world: Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco, and Philip Morris International. In line with the “Polluter Pays Principle” we’re calling on governments to make Big Tobacco pay for the damage it does. Help […]

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Regulating the smoke ban 10 years on


As we approach the tenth anniversary of smokefree legislation in England, we are looking at various aspects of the legislation and its impact. This article by Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH, looks at how the legislation is enforced. As I look back over the past decade since the smoking ban was first introduced, I […]

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My role in the smoking ban


Caroline Flint MP was public health minister from 2005 to 2007 and oversaw the introduction of the smoking ban, which she describes below. Caroline Flint MP. Image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office   On 1 July England celebrated a decade since the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces came into force. It’s been a huge […]

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Lord Rennard calls for a new Tobacco Control Plan


On Thursday 29 June 2017, in the run up to the tenth anniversary of smokefree legislation in England, Lord Rennard gave a speech in the House of Lords calling for the publication of a new Tobacco Control Plan. This was a part of the Queen’s Speech debate and is republished below. Lord Rennard (Image courtesy […]

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