Tobacco companies challenged on the web

Thursday 25 June 1998

Press releaseEmbargo 00:01 Thursday 25 June 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

The internet will play a central role in health campaigners’ fight against thetobacco industry. ASH has today announced three web-based initiatives that mark an intensification of the use of the Web to hold the tobacco industry to account. ASH’s site is at

  1. A survey of thousands of previously secret tobacco industry documents will be released as a web-based product. This is in the form of seven long chronologies dealing with: smoking and health, addiction, marketing to children, advertising, cigarette design, passive smoking and marketing in developing countries. In addition there is a compendium of the best extracts combined with some analysis and background. The chronologies are only available on the Web, and the definitive version of the compendium will be held on the Web, and updated periodically. The package is called Tobacco Explained: the truth about the tobacco industry …in its own words(pdf) and shows an extraordinary pattern of deception, denial and obfuscation over the key facts and realities surrounding tobacco.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH said: “We couldn’t really do this without the Web, which is now our preferred publishing medium. Paper is too inflexible, and we can keep the material up-to-date with easy national and international access through our site. I think it will be a great resource for people fighting the tobacco companies all over the world – everyone from school-kids to European Commissioners will find something revealing and shocking in the material.”

  1. ASH is investing in database technology that will be used in forthcoming legal action to hold document originals as TIFFs or PDFs. We intend to make documents available through the web. We will be using the Concordance product, which has also been chosen by lawyers acting on behalf of 53 lung cancer victims suing the tobacco industry.
  2. Later this year, ASH will be releasing a graphical and interactive front-end for the‘Tobacco Explained’ product which will be aimed at teenagers. This is part of ASH’s strategy of developing web-based information resources for use in schools and by teenagers.

ASH has an excellent partner in the Coronary Prevention Group, who manage the site.Ricky Greaves of CPG is the Webmaster: “The content on the ASH site is getting stronger all the time and the site visits have increased dramatically since CPG started managing the site for ASH in October. The look and feel we inherited still resemble the inside of a dole office, but we are planning a substantial makeover in the summer and then to seek sponsors for the site.”



Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Pauline Doyle, Press Officer (020) 7739 5902 or 0171 249 2363 (hm)
Ric Greaves, Webmaster 0171 580 1070 (at CPG)

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