Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: BAT


ASH Daily News for 16 October 2018

UK

  • BAT’s shares slump as heat-not-burn fails to take off

International

  • Study: Around half of hip-hop videos feature smoking
  • Malaysia: cigarette prices to increase

UK

BAT’s shares slump as heat-not-burn fails to take off

British American Tobacco has announced that revenue from smoking alternatives will miss expectations this year as it issued a more pessimistic outlook for the tobacco industry’s new products than rival Philip Morris International.

BAT shaved 10% off its target for revenue from electronic and non-combustible cigarettes this year. The fall in the revenue target comes after it recalled a device in the U.S. and Japanese as demand for so-called heat-not-burn tobacco has gone flat. The stock fell as much as 1.3%, trading near its lowest level in four years.

So-called heat-not-burn technology like BAT’s Glo is “not a complete substitute for smoking,” Ben Stevens, BAT’s financial director, said in a phone interview. “It’s not going to sweep the world as some of our competitors say it will.”

Source: Bloomberg, 16 October 2018

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International

Study: Around half of hip-hop videos feature smoking

Almost half of the music videos for hip hop’s biggest hits over the past five years have featured scenes of smoking or vaping, new research has found. Researchers at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy logged smoking scenes in the videos of major hits in Billboard magazine’s hip hop charts between 2013 and 2017.

Of the 1,250 songs that made the Billboard ‘Top 50’ hip hop and R&B chart, between 40% and 50% had clips that featured some form of smoking, depending on the year. The music videos were collectively viewed some 49 billion times.

The smoking included cigarettes, joints (pure cannabis rolled in cigarette paper), spliffs (weed and tobacco), blunts (marijuana rolled in cigar leaves) and pipes. Images of vaping also featured.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, Combustible and Electronic Tobacco and Marijuana Products in Hip-Hop Music Videos, 2013-2017

Site: EurekAlert, 15 October 2018

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Malaysia: cigarette prices to increase

The Malaysian Health Minister has announced that cigarette prices are set to rise at the end of this month. He said the price increase was in line with the recent Sales and Service Tax (SST) implementation on Sept 1.

“The SST will cause the prices of all tobacco products to increase. The Health Ministry is in the midst of coordinating the new prices of all tobacco products including cigarettes”, the Minister was quoted as saying.

Source: The Star Online, 16 October 2018

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ASH Daily News for 15 October 2018

UK

  • Tobacco sales reps using ‘illegal’ tactics to sell their products in pubs
  • SNP in row over conference fees from tobacco giants
  • Claims e-cigarette packaging ‘targets children’

International

  • Tobacco groups drag on the FTSE
  • Study: E-cigarette flavours could increase lung inflammation in mice
  • Study: Tobacco heating products and e-cigarettes cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes

UK

Tobacco sales reps using ‘illegal’ tactics to sell their products in pubs

Salesmen for Philip Morris, one of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, have been caught offering potentially illegal incentives to smokers in bars to get them hooked on new “heat-not-burn” tobacco products.

Undercover reporters were approached in a bar at London’s Canary Wharf and offered free tobacco to try on the spot, free alcoholic cocktails and free tobacco accessories, all of which Trading Standards say could be in breach of the Tobacco Advertising and Sales Act 2002. Documents seen by the Telegraph show that sales of IQOS devices have been remunerated through a pyramid-style structure, achieving top commissions when customers “activate” their membership and sign their friends up. If those customers do sign up successfully, they receive a £20 Amazon voucher as a reward.

Commenting on the findings, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, urged the government to take action saying: “After the Telegraph’s previous article exposing illegal advertising of IQOS by Philip Morris, the company promised the Government this would stop. Yet over a month later IQOS ads are still all plastered all over vape shops and tobacconists. Not only that, but now we find out Philip Morris is also plying smokers with free drinks in a desperate attempt to promote IQOS and sign up new customers.”

Source: The Telegraph, 15 October 2018

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SNP in row over conference fees from tobacco giants

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has been criticised after it emerged that tobacco companies had paid thousands of pounds to attend their party conference.

Despite the Scottish Government’s tough stance on smoking, cigarette makers Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial were present after buying “business day” passes. According to the event’s commercial brochure, organisations could attend one of the days by purchasing a pass for which had a £1,750 price tag. The blurb stated: “The day starts with a business breakfast and includes panel discussions and Q&A, lunch with a high-profile guest, and culminating with networking at a drinks reception…Business Day offers the opportunity to meet SNP policy-makers in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.”

Source: The Herald, 14 October 2018

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Claims e-cigarette packaging ‘targets children’

A Sunday Times investigation reveals that vaping manufacturers describe e-liquids as “sweet treats”, using cartoon characters and images of sweets, popcorn and ice cream as part of their packaging.

The e-liquid products were sold on www.vipelectroniccigarette.co.uk which is owned by British American Tobacco (BAT). BAT said yesterday evening they have now removed e-liquids manufactured by third parties from the website pending a review.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are committed to protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco products . . . we have laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.”

Source: The Sunday Times, 14 October 2018

See also: Britain’s £1bn vaping industry ‘is targeting children’ with cartoon character packaging and flavours that resemble fizzy drinks and sweets

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International

Tobacco groups drag on the FTSE

Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco were the FTSE 100’s sharpest fallers on renewed concerns about a US regulatory crackdown.

The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday it had sent letters to companies — including BAT — that threatened to pull e-cigarettes from the market as they may have violated a legal exemption for the products by introducing new flavours.

News of the warnings followed an FDA presentation on Thursday where its tobacco committee head put forward studies in support of cutting the nicotine levels of cigarettes.

See also: FDA threatens to pull new products from nearly two dozen e-cigarette companies

Source: The Financial Times, 12 October 2018

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Study: E-cigarette flavours could increase lung inflammation in mice

Flavouring and additive ingredients used in e-cigarettes could increase inflammation and impair lung function compared to non-flavour e-liquids, according to new research. Researchers from the University of Athens found that short-term exposure to e-cigarettes was enough to cause lung inflammation. However, lung injury was observed only amongst mice exposed to cigarette smoke.

The study’s authors also noted that their data is “aligned with the evidence of the less toxic effect of e-cigarette vapour compared to tobacco smoke, especially regarding the loss of lung integrity in mice.”

See also: Comparison of the effects of e-cigarette vapor with cigarette smoke on lung function and inflammation in mice

Source: Independent Online, 14 October 2018

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Study: Tobacco heating products and e-cigarettes cause less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes

A study by scientists at British American Tobacco (BAT) found that e-cigarettes and tobacco heating products cause significantly less staining to teeth than conventional cigarettes. Scientists assessed and compared a novel e-cigarette, a tobacco heating product and a conventional cigarette for their impact on teeth enamel staining. The results are published today in the American Journal of Dentistry.

Source: News Medical Life Sciences, 15 October 2018

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ASH Daily News for 27 September 2018

UK

  • Sheffield: Shop landed with £777,600 tax bill for selling black market tobacco

International

  • New Asean tobacco atlas reveals extent of tobacco addiction in South East Asia
  • British American Tobacco’s use of social media influencers to sell cigarettes faces legal complaint in Brazil
  • Industry groups call on World Health Organisation to change stance on vaping

UK

Sheffield: Shop landed with £777,600 tax bill for selling black market tobacco

As part of a new HM Revenue and Customs crackdown on illicit tobacco, HMRC has sent tax bills to businesses which have repeatedly been caught selling illicit tobacco. A total of 51 tax bills totalling £11.5 million have been issued across the country.

As part of this recent uptick in HMRC activity, a Sheffield store has been landed with a £777,600 fine for selling tobacco on the black market. The huge tax bill came after investigations revealed illegal income from the sale of illicit tobacco was equal to 89% of this particular business’ declared turnover.

Source: The Star (Sheffield), 25 September 2018

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International

New Asean tobacco atlas reveals extent of tobacco addiction in South East Asia

The fourth edition of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Tobacco Control Atlas was released yesterday (26 September), by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) at the 3rd UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases. Among more than 7 million people killed by tobacco-related diseases globally each year, more than 500,000 occur in Southeast Asia, according to the latest data. Among Asean countries, male adult smoking prevalence is highest in Indonesia at 66% and lowest in Singapore at 21.1%.

All 10 Asean countries have implemented pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs, four of which are among the biggest in the world – Thailand (85% front and back of the pack), Brunei, Laos and Myanmar (75%), while Singapore and Thailand are in advanced preparatory stages to require plain packaging. Tobacco tax policies have been strengthened in Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and have helped to reduce affordability of tobacco products. However cigarette prices remain affordable and low (less than $1 per pack) in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Source: The Nation (Thailand), 27 September 2018

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British American Tobacco’s use of social media influencers to sell cigarettes faces legal complaint in Brazil

British American Tobacco (BAT) faces a new legal complaint in Brazil for the company’s use of social media influencers to advertise cigarettes on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Brazil is the second country in which legal action has been initiated as the result of big tobacco’s clandestine use of social media to advertise cigarettes.

Filed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Sao Paulo and Brazil’s Consumer Protection Agency, the complaint details how social media campaigns for Kent, Lucky Strike and Dunhill cigarettes have violated Brazilian laws designed to curb smoking rates. The complaint was filed by ACT Brazil, a leading Brazilian advocacy group, and was supported by several Brazilian and international public health groups. The social media campaigns identified in Brazil featured industry-driven hashtags with social media influencers hired to promote cigarette brands, making it difficult for consumers to identify this tactic as paid advertisements for cigarettes.

Source: PR Newswire, 26 September 2018

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Industry groups call on World Health Organisation to change stance on vaping

An international coalition of vaping industry groups has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reform its stance on vaping regulations. Vaping advocacy groups from sixteen countries have called on the agency to reverse its stance that members states can ban vaping products outright as part of their tobacco control plans.

Lead by the UK Vaping Industry Association (which includes tobacco industry members), the group is demanding the WHO aligns its guidance with states such as the UK and New Zealand, which advocate smokers switching to vaping to wean smokers off conventional tobacco products, as part of harm-reduction policy.

Source: City A.M. 26 September 2018

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ASH Daily News for 25 September 2018

UK

  • Men’s health: The risks everyone should know about – from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and depression
  • North West: Blackburn shops penalised for selling cigarettes to children
  • Essex: Stress key to teenage uptake of smoking study suggests
  • British American Tobacco names inside man as new CEO

International

  • US: High-nicotine e-cigarettes flood market despite FDA rule
  • Texas: Age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes increases to 21 in San Antonio

UK

Men’s health: The risks everyone should know about – from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and depression

Men in the UK are 37% more likely than women to die from cancer and 75% more likely to die from heart disease, with around a fifth of men dying before the age of 65.

Smoking is the most common cause of cancer globally and is strongly linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Clare Hyde of Cancer Research UK, said: “Quit smoking before the age of 60 and you can gain up to 10 years of life. Stop before 30, you can bring your risk down to a non-smoker. Those who attend their local stop smoking service are around three times more likely to quit compared to going cold turkey. There’s also emerging evidence that e-cigarettes can help you to quit. Your GP can also prescribe medication to satisfy cravings.”

Source: The Mirror, 24 September 2018

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North West: Blackburn shops penalised for selling cigarettes to children

Four retailers in Blackburn have been shut down and fined for selling illicit tobacco and supplying cigarettes to under-18s.

The investigation was prompted by complaints from the public and included the use of 15 year old volunteers to make test purchases.

Councillor Suleman Khonat, president of the Blackburn with Darwen Newsagents Federation, said: “Hopefully these prosecutions will act as a deterrent. Selling cigarettes to under-18s is totally unacceptable.”

Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 25 September 2018

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Essex: Stress key to teenage uptake of smoking study suggests

A recent study published in the European Research Institute for Social Work journal has found that stress is a key contributor to the uptake of smoking among 14-15 year olds in Essex. This was more pronounced in deprived areas.

The researchers conducted interviews with students from schools in 6 of the most deprived local authority areas and sent questionnaires out to schools in all of the county’s 14 districts. 70.1% of participants in areas of higher deprivation said that stress is the main reason for their smoking, compared to 62.6% of participants in lower deprivation areas. Students in higher deprivation areas also reported being influenced by seeing their parents smoke to ease stress. This question was not asked of students in lower deprivation areas.

Linda Homan, study author said: “Teenagers in both deprived and wealthier areas are saying that stress is the main reason they are smoking. That should serve as a wake-up call to agencies as we know that early smoking can lead to addiction and subsequent health problems in later life.”

Source: Echo News, 24 September 2018

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British American Tobacco names inside man as new CEO

Following the recent departure of British American Tobacco’s CEO Nicandro Durante, the company has appointed Jack Bowles – current chief operating officer – to the position.

Mr Durante stepped down in the wake of weak market performance with the value of BAT shares falling by more than a fifth over the last year, lagging behind major competitors such as Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco.

Source: Financial Times, 25 September 2018

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International

US: High-nicotine e-cigarettes flood market despite FDA rule

Following the success of the Juul e-cigarette in the US, a number of cheaper devices based on the Juul model have started to appear in convenience stores and vape retailers across the country. This is despite a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule banning the sale of new e-cigarette products without regulatory approval from August 2016.

A number of devices have been launched since the FDA imposed the deadline including British American Tobacco’s high-nicotine Vuse Alto e-cigarette.

The FDA has said that it is investigating the newer brands and “plans to take additional action on this front very soon.”

Source: Reuters, 24 September 2018

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Texas: Age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes increases to 21 in San Antonio

From 1 October the city of San Antonio will raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21.

This applies to tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, heated tobacco delivery systems and snuss, and nicotine products that don’t contain tobacco such as e-cigarettes.

Source: News4SA, 25 September 2018

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ASH Daily News for 10 September 2018

UK

  • Birmingham Council’s vaping project with British American Tobacco labelled ‘a disgrace’
  • Hampshire County Council tobacco pension investment under fire
  • Bristol hospital trust to implement smoking ban across all sites
  • Trading standards find retailers in North Yorkshire sold cigarettes to teens

UK

Council’s vaping project with British American Tobacco labelled ‘a disgrace’

Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that British American Tobacco (BAT) and Birmingham City Council are piloting a project to promote BAT’s vaping products to smokers who want to kick the habit. The emails show that, while the council refused to allow BAT to present the deal as a partnership, the company approached other local authorities on the back of its work with Birmingham as it touted for more business with the public sector.
Public health campaigners said Birmingham’s actions were in breach of guidelines which stipulate that the tobacco industry “must not be a partner in any initiative linked to setting or implementing public health policies” and that all interactions between both sides must be transparent.

Steve Brine, public health minister, said:

“Stop-smoking services exist to save lives – it is a disgrace that British American Tobacco is seeking to exploit them for its own profit. I am committed to working towards a smoke-free generation – and councils play a vital role in this – but we have a duty to protect our public health services from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry.”

Deborah Arnott chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said:

“Birmingham signed the local government declaration on tobacco control, promising to protect its public health policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. That should have prevented any involvement with BAT on the e-cigarette pilot, which BAT has misrepresented as a ‘partnership’ in its efforts to gain access to other local authorities up and down the country. Birmingham’s experience is a salutary warning to all local authorities that any engagement with tobacco manufacturers should be avoided unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Source: The Observer, 9 September 2018

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Hampshire County Council tobacco pension investment under fire

Hampshire County Council is facing criticism after continuing to invest its pension funds in cigarette manufacturing, despite running anti-smoking campaigns. The council has more than £80m invested in tobacco firms which opposition councillors say conflicts with its health promotion role. Its own Tobacco Control Strategy stated smoking caused the death of more than 1,800 people in the county each year.

Advice from the Department for Communities and Local Government states that council pension funds’ “predominant concern” should be perusing a financial return, but could consider other factors “provided that doing so would not involve significant risk of financial detriment to the scheme”.

Source: BBC news, 7 September 2018

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Bristol hospital trust to implement smoking ban across all sites

A total ban on smoking and vaping is to be implemented at the University Hospital site in Bristol next year. The ban will include all areas within the Trust’s boundaries.

Matt Joint, director of people at UH Bristol, said: “As a healthcare provider we have a role to play in promoting healthy living and offering support to staff and patients who want to give up smoking. As part of this we’re committed to going completely smoke free, which is something Public Health England has asked all Trusts to do. We receive regular complaints from patients, visitors, parents of children and staff about people smoking in our entrances or near buildings where windows might be open and as a healthcare provider it’s important that we address these issues.”

Source: Bristol Post, 9 September 2018

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Trading standards find retailers in North Yorkshire sold cigarettes to teens

Undercover test purchasing conducted by a trading standards team found 16 out of 47 retailers tested in North Yorkshire sold cigarettes to a 15-year-old. The inspection team carry out regular test purchasing in the county to ensure businesses are not selling cigarettes to under-18s.

The volunteers who help North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards team have strict rules to follow and are instructed to tell the truth at all times, as well as provide identification showing their true age if requested.

Councillor Andrew Lee, said: “Cigarettes are age-restricted to protect the health of our young people and retailers are urged to be aware of the implications of underage sales.’’

Source: The Northern Echo, 8 September 2018

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ASH Daily News for 26 July 2018

UK

  • NHS ‘Stop Smoking’ ads working in Essex

International

  • BAT to launch heated tobacco in US
  • USA: Study finds smokers confused about benefits of lung cancer screenings
  • Indonesia: Tobacco use becoming part of the ‘rite of passage’ for some rural boys

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Question

UK

NHS ‘Stop Smoking’ ads working in Essex

Half of young people surveyed in Essex say they’ve been put off taking up smoking by national NHS ‘Stop Smoking adverts’ on TV. The YEAH!3 report, by Healthwatch Essex, found the adverts have discouraged young people from ever taking up smoking, many said that constant reminders of the dangers prevented them from starting. The visual impact of warnings on cigarette packets was also a common factor reported to discourage young people from smoking.

Dr David Sollis, CEO of Healthwatch Essex, said: “It is very encouraging to hear that some of the adverts currently being used by the NHS are proving successful in deterring young people from smoking. That was a very clear message that came out of the report, which is really positive. It seems, for young people who already smoke, being warned of the long-term dangers is not always the strongest incentive to quit. In fact, we found that tailoring smoking-cessation information to include more immediate side effects and consequences may benefit this group more.”

Source: Heart, 26 July 2018

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International

BAT to launch heated tobacco in US

British American Tobacco has said it received a “substantial equivalence” clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an new version of its carbon-tipped tobacco heating product called Eclipse.

This means the product can be legally marketed in the US and BAT said it would test launch Eclipse in the United States within the next 12 months.

Source: Reuters, 26 July 2018

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USA: Study finds smokers confused about benefits of lung cancer screenings

A study by the VA Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care in Seattle has found that patients hold misconceptions around the benefits and limitations of lung cancer screenings. Regular cancer screenings can lower chance of death from lung cancer due to earlier detection expanding treatment options, but cannot reduce the risk of developing lung cancer for people who smoke.

To test patients’ actual knowledge about lung cancer, the researchers surveyed 83 smokers after their lungs were screened, with a series of questions. Nearly half (47%) answered the question “For people over age 55 who are current smokers, which is more likely to prevent the most premature deaths – lung cancer screening or quitting smoking?” incorrectly. This means nearly half of patients believed lung cancer screenings were at least as good as quitting smoking as a way of protecting against death.

See also: Annals of the American Thoracic Society, Smokers’ Inaccurate Beliefs about the Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening

Source: Scienmag, 26 July 2018

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Indonesia: Tobacco use becoming part of the ‘rite of passage’ for some rural boys

Indonesia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, with 63% of men (but just 5% of women) reported to be smokers. It’s the fifth largest tobacco market in the world, in part due it’s large, expanding, population of 260 million.

Some cultures in Indonesia regard circumcision as the mark of when a boy becomes a man and often at this time boys will receive gifts. In tobacco-producing district in Magelang, Central Java, smoking has become part of the rite of passage for boys and cigarettes are now a common gift.

The Magelang regency administration launched an intensive campaign against children smoking early this year including targeting junior high school students to explain the dangers of smoking.

Source: Jakarta Post, 26 July 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Question

Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how he plans to ensure that the UK tobacco product track and trace system as required by Article 8 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products will be fully independent from the tobacco industry.

Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary
The government is committed to meeting the requirements for independence from the tobacco industry as per Article 8 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The track and trace system will be implemented under the EU Tobacco Products Directive. The implementing legislation for the Directive specifies strict and comprehensive criteria by which independence from the tobacco industry is determined. Providers of the track and trace system will need to demonstrate to HM Revenue & Customs that they satisfy this criteria both before and during the period they provide the services required as a condition of holding the respective contracts.

Source: Hansard, 26 July 2018

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ASH Daily News for 13 June 2018

UK

  • North West: Smokers urged to take care following fires in Blackburn

International

  • Netherlands: Smoking clogs up parts of the brain crucial for memory – increasing the risk of dementia, study finds
  • Romania: BAT to Invest 800 Million Euros in Factory

Parliamentary Activity

  • Parliamentary Question

UK

North West: Smokers urged to take care following fires in Blackburn

Smokers across Lancashire are being warned to take extra care when it comes to disposing of their cigarette ends after a series of fires in a town centre.

Blackburn Fire Station station said they had been called out to a number of small incidents in Blackburn town centre, where compost and earth in planters is so dry that fires have been easily sparked by passers-by using them as an ashtray

Source: Lancashire Telegraph, 12 June 2018

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International

Netherlands: Smoking clogs up parts of the brain crucial for memory – increasing the risk of dementia, study finds

Smoking clogs an area of the brain crucial to memory, according to new research.

When someone smokes, it causes a build-up of calcium in the hippocampus, part of the brain associated mainly with memory, in particular long-term memory. The study found that found those who smoked – or were diabetic – were more likely to have these ‘calcifications’ on CT scans.

The research team studied 1,991 patients with an average age of 78 who had visited a memory clinic at a Dutch hospital between 2009 and 2015, looking at the link between vascular risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking and brain calcifications.

The findings may explain the link between cigarettes and dementia – and provide another reason to stub out the habit.

See also: Radiology: Hippocampal Calcifications: Risk Factors and Association with Cognitive Function

Source: Daily Mail, 12 June 2018

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Romania: BAT to Invest 800 Million Euros in Factory

British American Tobacco (BAT) announced on June 11 that it will invest 800 million euros over the next five years in its factory in Ploiești, Romania. The investment will support the expansion of BAT’s controversial ‘heat not burn’ tobacco products in countries across Europe during the second half of 2018.

A completely new manufacturing hall will be built dedicated to producing specially designed tobacco ‘heat not burn’ sticks – called Neostiks – which work with the glo tobacco heating device.

Source: Emerging Europe, 12 June 2018

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Parliamentary Activity

Parliamentary Question

Philip Davies, Conservative MP, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many incidents of (a) violence and (b) disturbance there has been in each prison since the implementation of the smoking ban.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of violence in prisons between (a) inmates and (b) inmates and prison staff since the implementation of the ban on tobacco.

Philip Davies, Conservative MP, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisons that have implemented a ban on smoking tobacco have put in place special measures including increased security to manage prisoners’ behaviour.

Rory Stewart, the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice.

The information requested in 149636 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost as the implementation of smoke-free prisons was rolled out at different times.

An analysis was carried out earlier this year on the impact of the tobacco ban on Prison Safety and Security. There is no conclusive evidence of an increase in violence in prisons attributable to the tobacco ban. No additional security measures have been implemented in any prison following the implementation of the tobacco ban.

Source: Hansard HC, 12 June 2018

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Child labour and human rights breaches in Zimbabwe tobacco farms

In the week of its AGM, ASH is urging British American Tobacco (BAT) to stop turning a blind eye to child labour and unacceptable working conditions on Zimbabwean tobacco farms which supply 6% of the company’s tobacco leaf.

BAT’s ‘Supplier Code of Conduct and Child Labour Policy’, published in 2016, outlined its commitment to ensuring a safe working environment and prohibiting child labour. Yet a report from Human Rights Watch published this month entitled ‘A Bitter Harvest’ finds farmers in Zimbabwe are ill-informed of the risks associated with nicotine exposure, and are not receiving the necessary training or equipment to protect themselves. [1]

As a result, many tobacco farmers reported symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning, such as sickness and dizziness, which happens when workers absorb nicotine through their skin while handling tobacco plants. Others claimed they were pushed to work excessive hours without overtime compensation, denied their wages, and forced to go weeks or months without pay.

This ill-treatment is not confined to adults. BAT’s code specifically identifies hazardous tasks which under 18’s should not perform in tobacco farming. These include harvesting, topping and suckering. Yet child labour continues to be widespread within the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe, with many under 18s working in conditions that threaten their health and safety or interfere with their education. Children are more vulnerable to nicotine poisoning than adults, and new evidence also shows that children are, in some cases, mixing, handling, or applying pesticides directly to crops, putting them at further risk. Compounding this, children who engaged in tobacco farming were frequently absent from school during the tobacco growing season, causing them to fall behind with school work.

Most workers said that, as far as they knew, union organizers were the only people to inspect conditions at their workplaces and speak with them about grievances. Very few of the hired workers on small or large-scale farms who were interviewed said they had ever seen a labour inspector or other government official visit their workplace to inspect working conditions.

In response to criticisms from Human Rights Watch about the rigour and effectiveness of BAT’s implementation of its code, the company said a revised audit system due to be implemented in 2018 would include visits to tobacco farms and in-depth analyses of suppliers’ policies, processes, and practices. However, the on-site review will only last four days, with only one day of field visits. It also does specify how many auditors are involved in these visits or how many farms will be visited. BAT has also committed to ‘undertake an interim review on human rights via unannounced farm visits by BAT to Zimbabwe farms, planned for early 2018’, but what this will amount to has never been made clear.

These are fine words, but the track record to date in Zimbabwe does not encourage confidence, and BAT’s processes lack transparency or detail. BAT must go a great deal further, and commit to adopting the recommendations set out in the Human Rights Watch report. To do less is unacceptable.

[1] Human Rights Watch. A Bitter Harvest: Child Labor and Human Rights Abuses on Tobacco Farms in Zimbabwe. 2018. Available at: https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/zimbabwe0418_web_2.pdf

Africa must reject BAT’s fools’ gold

 
Cameroon school children at point of sale where tobacco advertising is visible. Photo credit: ATCA

Tih Ntiabang is the Regional Coordinator — AFRO, for the Framework Convention Alliance.

 

The latest ‘sustainability’ report published by British American Tobacco (BAT) states: “we are committed to operating to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.” [1] In pursuit of its strategic goals, the multinational even tries to portray itself as being in alignment with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Is it necessary to remind anyone of BAT’s historic and ongoing appalling business conduct across the globe — specifically in low and middle-income countries, with the African region being a key target?

Legacy tobacco industry documents show that BAT has been implementing a long-agreed strategy to gradually shift their markets from societies with higher regulatory systems to those with little or no regulatory systems and rising potential markets. In one such document, BAT proclaims that “Africa is also projected to continue growing…BAT is strongly placed to take advantage of the growth in these markets.” [2]

Africa has embraced the world’s only global health treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). However, tobacco companies including BAT have held the continent hostage with the lure of corporate social responsibility initiatives, which contravene Article 5.3 of the Treaty.

In Malawi, Mozambique Tanzania, Uganda and others, BAT has successfully used front groups to portray itself as an indispensable partner in providing solutions to a problem — child labour — that they cause. They manipulate decision-makers, and public opinion to ensure they maintain a ‘positive’ image in the eyes of the government and public.

In March 2018, during the 332nd meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) governing body, a delegate representing Uganda delivered a disturbing statement urging the ILO to continue taking money from the tobacco industry. According to this delegate, the statement was delivered on behalf of the African region. This is an example of the tobacco industry’s strong grip on the continent.

BAT also flouts tobacco control laws in many African countries, in ways it would never try to get away with in its home country Britain. In Nigeria and Uganda, despite the fact it’s illegal, BAT continues to advertise around schools. In Benin and Nigeria, the law is flouted by making single cigarettes easily available, especially around schools. BAT branded kiosks even target schools for children as young as six. [3]

It is no surprise that the public health community in Africa questions the relevance of BAT’s supposed “highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.” BAT’s determination to market its products to the poor and children tells a different story. Africa will only avoid a rapidly growing epidemic of tobacco caused diseases if it fully implements the FCTC, including by rejecting BAT’s appeals for sustainable development partnerships.

References:

[1] British American Tobacco — Transforming Tobacco Sustainability Report 2017

[2] From www.tobaccotactics.org — British American Tobacco, Talk to TMDP-Chelwood August 1990, 24 July 1990, Bates no. 502619006–502619029, accessed June 2014; note: The document is a 24-page speech with no author mentioned. However, the speaker introduces himself as sharing his “views from the perspective of a BAT Industries Board member as well as that of BATCo Chairman”. In 1990, Barry Bramley was the company’s Chairman, and at the trial MINNESOTA V. PHILIP MORRIS INC., the speech was attributed to him Deposition of RAYMOND J. PRITCHARD

[3] African Tobacco Control Alliance — Big Tobacco Tiny Targets : Tobacco Industry Targets Schools In Africa

BAT must be held financially responsible for the damage it causes

Headquartered in London, British American Tobacco (BAT) is one of the biggest transnational tobacco companies. This Wednesday BAT is hosting its Annual General Meeting in London. In line with the “Polluter Pays Principle” ASH is calling on the Government and political leaders to hold Big Tobacco financially responsible for the damage it causes. We must #MakeThemPay.

 

In 2009, six of the top tobacco producing countries had undernourishment rates between 5–27%. [1] If the 5.3 million hectares of land used for growing tobacco instead grew food, between 10–20 million people could be fed. [2]Instead, companies like BAT ensure that tobacco continues to be grown, and attempt to do so with as little regulation as possible.

BAT has a history of using unethical tactics to ensure it continues to turn a high profit. In Kenya, where BAT holds approximately 70% of the tobacco market, it took 13 years to pass the Tobacco Control Act due to BAT’s “intimidation”, according to a report by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the International Institute for Legislative Affairs. The report states that this delay “was due to the Industry’s manipulation of the parliamentarians; including providing lavish holidays in the guise of building their capacity on the legislation.” [3]

According to the British Medical Journal, in 2012 BAT was responsible for $152 billion of the $1.4 trillion dollar cost that smoking causes the world economy, based on their 11% share of the global market. Big Tobacco should not get away with the harm it cause the world. The $152 billion strain placed on the global economy by BAT is money wasted which could be better spent on reducing smoking prevalence, environmental care, and finding ways to prevent undernutrition. [4]

BAT’s operating profits totalled £6.4 billion in 2017. With such a large profit, BAT should be held financially accountable for the harm it causes both people and the environment. [5]

Over the next two weeks, use the hashtag #MakeThemPay to communicate the different ways the Tobacco Industry can take financial responsibility for the damage they cause:

· Share your stories about how tobacco has affected you and tag them with #MakeThemPay.

· Take photos of smoking related litter or other pollution and share them on social media with the tag #MakeThemPay.

· Take photos of smoking related litter or other pollution and share them on social media with the tag #MakeThemPay.

· Contact BAT directly and tell it that it must take financial responsibility for the harm its business causes. Email or tweet at the press office using the hashtag #MakeThemPay, or phone its offices on 020 7845 1000. If you’re outside the UK you can find a list of country specific contacts here.

Share this story with your networks and encourage them to do the same.

References:

[1] World Health Organization. The Millennium Development Goals and Tobacco Control: An Opportunity for Global Partnership. 2015.

[2] Eriksen M, Mackay J, Ross H. The Tobacco AtlasAmerican Cancer Society, and New York, NY: World Lung Foundation. 2012.

[3] Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, International Institute for Legislative Affairs. Tobacco Industry Interference in Kenya: Exposing the tactics. 2013.

[4] Goodchild M, Nargis N, Tursan d’Espaignet E. Global economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases. Tobacco Control. 2017;27(1):58–64.

[5] British American Tobacco. British American Tobacco p.l.c. Preliminary Announcement — Year Ended 31 December 2017. 2018.

Big Tobacco should pay for the damage it does

This spring ASH is running a campaign to coincide with the annual shareholders meetings of three of the largest tobacco companies in the world: Imperial Tobacco, British American Tobacco, and Philip Morris International. In line with the “Polluter Pays Principle” we’re calling on governments to make Big Tobacco pay for the damage it does. Help us share this message over the next few months. We must #MakeThemPay

Today marks the launch of ASH’s ‘Polluter Pays Spring Campaign’. The “polluter pays” principle, as adopted and developed by the OECD, is that a polluter must bear all the costs of preventing and controlling any pollution, including paying for the cost of the damage done. [1]

Tobacco is the leading cause of premature death worldwide, killing over 7 million people [2] a year and growing. The engine of the smoking epidemic is the tobacco industry, which is highly profitable and in rude health, unlike many of those who consume its products. The tobacco industry is uniquely lethal, causing immense harm to individuals, to communities and to the environment.

Tobacco companies are notorious for the damage they cause to the environment through deforestation, pollution, and littering. Wood fires are needed for the process of drying tobacco leaves, leading to the loss of one tree for every 300 cigarettes. Greenhouse gases are released into the air when cigarettes are smoked, and heavy metals and toxic chemicals end up in the water supply from littered cigarette butts. [3]

Smoking accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK alone, and about half all life-long smokers will die prematurely. [4] Imperial Tobacco is holding its Annual General Meeting tomorrow in Bristol, marking the launch of ASH’s “Polluter Pays Spring Campaign”. Imperial is the fifth largest tobacco company in the world and last year, it sold over 260 billion cigarettes and made operating profits of well over three billion pounds. In the UK its products are used by well over a third of smokers, [5] making it responsible for at least 30,000 deaths a year and 150,000 admissions to hospital.[6]

Imperial’s operating profits totalled £3.5 billion last year and in 2017 the board only withdrew a £3 million bonus to its chief executive because of a shareholder revolt. [7]

With money like that to burn, it is time that Imperial Tobacco pays for the damage it does both to people and to the environment.

Between now and the 9th May (coinciding with Philip Morris International’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders) ASH will be publishing a series of articles and videos on our Medium blog and Twitter. It is time Big Tobacco is made to pay.

References

[1] The Polluter Pays Principle. OECD Analyses and Recommendations. OECD Paris 1992.

[2] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

[3] World Health Organization. Tobacco and its environmental impact. 2017.

[4] Office for National Statistics. Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016. Published June 2017

[5] Branston, J. Gilmore, A. The extreme profitability of the UK tobacco market and the rationale for a new tobacco levy. University of Bath, 2017

[6] Office for National Statistics. Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2015. Published March 2017.

[7] The Guardian. Tobacco giant Imperial Brands rethinks CEO’s pay rise after revolt. 26 January 2017.

Exposing the global harm caused by the tobacco industry

Today sees the start of a co-ordinated week of action by ASH and our partners to highlight the global harm caused by the tobacco industry.

This action is timed to coincide with annual general meetings of two of the largest transnational tobacco companies — British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI).

Tobacco kills around 6 million people every year [1] — a figure greater than the number of people living in Denmark [2].

Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease across the world.

Despite the widespread harm caused by the tobacco industry, the businesses involved continue to harvest enormous profits. BAT alone made a profit of £5.2 billion in 2016 [3] from their global market share of about 11%. [4]

The harm from the tobacco industry extends beyond that caused to individuals who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco farming takes valuable land that could be used to produce food and other more useful resources, and increases poverty in low income countries.

Child labour is used extensively in tobacco farming and production, harming efforts to improve educational outcomes [1], while the adult labour involved could be put to more productive and beneficial work. Many workers involved in harvesting tobacco, especially children, fall ill with a condition called green tobacco sickness. [1]

Hundreds of millions of trees are felled every year to make way for tobacco crops [5], accelerating deforestation and contributing negatively to climate change.

Throughout the next eight days we will be exposing the global harm caused by the tobacco industries — to individuals, families, societies, the global economy and our environment. Please join us in sharing these messages and encourage governments to #ActOnTobacco.

Here are some ways in which you can get involved in the campaign.

Notes
All hyperlinks accessed on 20 April 2017
[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/
[2] http://denmark.dk/en/quick-facts/facts/
[3]http://www.bat.com/group/sites/uk__9d9kcy.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9DCL3B/$FILE/medMDAKPK62.pdf?openelement page 2
[4] https://www.statista.com/statistics/279873/global-cigarette-market-share-by-group/
[5] Leppan W, Lecours N, Buckles D. (Editors). Tobacco control and tobacco farming: Separating myth from reality. International Development Research Center. New York: Anthem Press; 2014

The UK Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, the world’s second and fourth largest tobacco companies (excluding the Chinese state tobacco monopoly) are based in the UK. January 2017.

Download here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘You’ve got to be kidding’

A compelling dossier of BAT’s activities in promoting its tobacco products to young people around the globe.

'You've got to be kidding'

 

 

British American Tobacco: Exporting Misery

A case-study of BAT’s efforts to promote smoking abroad, using Kenya as a case-study and focusing on the environmental damage and exploitation of cheap labour they are responsible for, as well as the use of methods that are no longer legal in this country or many other developed nations in recruiting new nicotine addicts.

BAT: Exporting Misery
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