ASH Daily News for 06 February 2019


  • Study: Major tobacco companies pay almost no UK corporation tax despite massive profits
  • Rightwing thinktank issued with warning for campaigning for Brexit


  • US: Tobacco farmer’s son endorses smoking ban in most workplaces


Study: Major tobacco companies pay almost no UK corporation tax despite massive profits

New research published in the Journal of Public Health has found that big tobacco companies are paying a “pitiful” amount of corporation tax on billions of pounds of profits, despite the enormous cost smoking has on the NHS and the economy.

Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International have all shifted their corporate structures to minimise their UK tax bills, researchers from the University of Bath found. Despite being headquartered in Britain, Imperial has paid an effective rate of just 13% over the past seven years, during which time corporation tax has varied between 20% and 28%. BAT is also based in the UK but paid “virtually no” corporation tax over the same period, including four consecutive years (2011-14) where it paid nothing at all, the paper found.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s policy manager, said: “The tobacco industry is dodging its obligation to contribute to the UK tax system, leaving the public to pay for clearing up the mess caused by its products. The government should impose a tobacco industry levy and consider a surcharge on corporation tax or other mechanisms to help fund services to help smokers quit.”

Source: Independent, 6 February 2019

Journal of Public Health: The failure of the UK to tax adequately tobacco company profits

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Rightwing thinktank breached charity law by campaigning for Brexit

The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), which has received funding from the tobacco industry, has been accused of “misconduct and mismanagement” and issued with a formal legal warning by the Charity Commission after using its resources to campaign for Brexit.

The Commission, which regulates the charitable sector, said a report published by the IEA and launched in the public spotlight, amounted to “engaging in campaigning and lobbying activity that is not sufficiently connected to its educational purposes”.

The official warning requires the IEA to implement a procedure for its reports to be signed off by trustees before publication in future and undertake in writing not to carry out political campaigning again.

Source: The Guardian, 5 February 2019

See also:
Tobacco Tactics: Institute of Economic Affairs

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US: Tobacco farmer’s son endorses smoking ban in most workplaces

Adam Edelen, the son of a tobacco farmer running for governor in Kentucky endorsed a statewide smoking ban in most workplaces on Tuesday, a sign of the evolving tobacco politics in a state once dominated by tobacco crop and featuring one of the highest adult and youth smoking rates in the country.

Edelen said he felt compelled to endorse a plan that would ban smoking at enclosed workplaces, including bars and restaurants with three or more employees. Legislative efforts to pass a statewide workplace smoking ban in Kentucky have stalled in recent years.

Tobacco companies have spent millions of dollars lobbying the state legislature and are often among the top spenders for each session despite an increase in public support for a statewide smoking ban.

A 2017 poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found more than 7 in 10 people in Kentucky supported a statewide smoking ban. At least 25 states have enacted workplace smoking bans, and another five states have banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Source: Daily Mail, 5 February 2019

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