BAT-Rothmans sales will kill over a million people per year by 2010: less cancerous cigarettes could make a difference – but regulators should lead

Thursday 29 April 1999

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press release – BAT AGM
29th April 1999
Action on Smoking
and Health

BAT-Rothmans sales will kill over a million people per year by 2010: less cancerouscigarette could make a difference — but regulators should lead

BAT-Rothmans’ combined sales of 900billion cigarettes per year are likely to lead to over 1 million premature smoking-relateddeaths per year by 2010. This is the grim flip-side of increased market share, emergingmarkets and high profits – the dividends have an astronomical price in human pain andmisery. The announcement from BAT’s US subsidiary that it plans a safer cigarettebased on new processing technology is a welcome chink of light in the wall of denial aboutthe harm caused by cigarettes. Clive Bates, Director of ASH commented:

“Once a tobacco company brings in a less dangerouscigarette, it sets up a new dynamic that it will soon lose control of. Once thepossibilities are glimpsed, regulators will start to demand product changes that willfundamentally change the tobacco business.”

The merged group’s global market share is16%. According to the WHO, the estimated death toll from smoking-related diseases iscurrently 4 million, rising to 10 million by 2030 — unless something changes. As areasonable assumption, BAT’s market share in cigarettes is equal to its share of thedeath toll — 640,000 now, rising to 1.6 million in 2030 and passing the 1 millionmark in 2010. The death toll in 2010 is attributable to sales that are being made now.Approximately 33 million people will die as a result of consuming BAT-Rothman’sproducts over this period — roughly one death for every £350 of the marketcapitalisation (£11.7 billion) of the combined company — or about 70 ordinary BATshares. Even Philip Morris’ shares are not this deadly.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH said: “<fontface=”times new=”” roman”=””>You always come away from these events feelingslightly sick. In the splendour of Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Board is blissfully insulatedfrom the misery and suffering of the million dead left in the wake of BAT’s push forprofits and emerging markets”.

“I hope that any investor will try to visualise amillion dead due to one year of BAT’s activities and then ask if they really ought tobe putting their pension, savings or other nestegg into such a stock. No-one with aconscience can possibly hold shares in BAT,” <fontface=”arial, sans-serif”=”” size=”2″>said Bates.

“We think the BAT and the other multi-nationals needto be brought under much stricter control. This means proper regulation that forces themto reduce the hazardous chemicals in tobacco smoke, and a world-wide ban on tobaccoadvertising because we don’t think they should be doing in developing countries whatthe are banned from doing in Europe. The message is: disinvest from the stock, regulatethe drug and ban the pushers,”said Bates.

ASH report: The safer cigarette: what thetobacco industry could do includes the new technology and is at <ahref=”http:”” patent.html”=””>



Contact Clive Bates, ASH Director (020) 7739 5902

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