ASH backs Dobson Tobacco Disclosure Bill

Friday 18 January 2002






ASHbacks Dobson Bill on Tobacco Industry Disclosure.


Healthcampaigners ASH today backed a Private Members Bill from former HealthSecretary Frank Dobson, which would by law give the public access to tobaccocompanies’ internal documents. Mr Dobson’s Tobacco Disclosure Bill, which willbe debated today in the House of Commons, would force tobacco companies topublish details of their internal discussions on advertising and promotion, aswell as  any scientific research theyhave carried out on the dangers of smoking, or ways to make cigarettes moreaddictive.


Havingaccess to this information, which is currently kept secret on the grounds of“commercial confidentiality” would allow the Government to see how tobaccocompanies were developing their products, and how they plan to get round anyfurther restrictions on cigarette advertising. A similar disclosure exercise inthe USA, carried out in 1997 as part of a settlement agreement between the USStates and the tobacco industry, brought to light some astonishing documentswhich implicated tobacco executives in organising smuggling, and in attemptingto influence and discredit politicians[1].


ASHPublic Affairs Manager John Connolly, emphasised the need for this legislation,saying:


“We’veseen from the USA just how valuable it is to be able to see what tobaccocompanies are up to behind closed doors. We’re dealing here with possibly themost deceitful industry in history, whose leaders have lied to their customers,and to governments, about the harm done by their products for decades. 7 yearsago the heads of all the big tobacco companies swore on oath that nicotine wasnot addictive. The internal documents show that they knew it was an addictivedrug 30 years ago. These people simply cannot be trusted.


“ABritish law on tobacco industry disclosure would be a great first step towardsgetting full disclosure the world over as part of the World HealthOrganisation’s negotiations on an international tobacco treaty. If theGovernment can’t back Mr Dobson’s Bill, then it really should make sure thatthe tobacco industry throughout the world has to disclose its internaldocuments as part of this treaty.”





Contact: John Connolly 020 77395902 (office) or07702 817477 (mobile);

Or Clive Bates: 020 77395902 (Office) or 07768791237 (Mobile)

ISDN Available




[1] A digest of these documents:  “Trust us, we’re the Tobacco Industry”, isavailable on the ASH website:

[2] The full text of the Tobacco Disclosure Billis available on the House of commons website: <ahref=”http:”” pa=”” cm200102=”” cmbills=”” 024=”” 2002024.htm”=””>