Protestors demand industry pays for damage at Imperial Tobacco AGM

01 February 2017

Today protestors have gathered outside the Imperial Tobacco AGM to demand the tobacco industry pays for the damage it causes.

Tobacco causes nearly 80,000 deaths in England each year.[1] The cost of tobacco to society is estimated to be £12.9 billion[2] while new figures show the social care cost alone is £1.4 billion annually.[3] In Bristol tobacco costs society approximately £114 million a year.[3]

Cash strapped local authorities face increasingly difficult choices over which services to cut, yet the tobacco industry continues to reap huge rewards. Imperial Tobacco made £3.5 billion in profit last year [4] and had proposed a £3 million pay increase for its chief executive[5] which had to be withdrawn due to a shareholder revolt.[6]

Protestors will be asking members of the public and Imperial’s shareholders for contributions towards meeting these costs as they enter the AGM, to raise awareness of the profits of the tobacco industry and the need for a sustainable funding solution for tobacco control.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health said:

“Tobacco costs society billions of pounds a year while the industry continues to make huge profits. The Government has set a precedent with the sugar levy on the soft drinks industry and should do the same to the tobacco industry to make it pay for the damage it does.”

Cecilia Farren founder of GASP[8] and anti-smoking campaigner, who attended the AGM to question Imperial, said:

“Imperial Tobacco made £3.5 billion last year. Imperial claims to have 45% of the UK market equivalent to 43,000 of the 96,000 deaths last year.[7] We demand that the industry coughs up for the misery they cause families and society.”


Notes and Links:

[1] Estimated premature deaths for each jurisdiction are as follows: England – 77,800; Scotland – 10,000; Wales – 5,500; N. Ireland – 2,300. Sources: Statistics on Smoking: England 2016; ASH Scotland Smoking and Tobacco Statistics Fact Sheet 2016; Welsh Government – Health Improvement NIdirect – smoking

[2] Tobacco levy consultation document. HM Treasury, December 2014.

[3] ASH Ready Reckoner, January 2017.

[4] Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016

[5] Imperial on the racks over boss’s bonus bonanza, The Sunday Times, January 2017.

[6] Tobacco giant Imperial Brands rethinks CEO’s pay rise after revolt, The Guardian, January 2017.

[7] Tobacco levy: response to the consultation, HM Treasury, September 2015.

[8] GASP Consultancy provides smoking education and tobacco control resources.