Tobacco Industry

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Profit per death: $9,730[1]
Tobacco is a global industry; despite a sharp decline in official support for manufacturers since 1964, ~6 trillion cigarettes are still produced each year - a ~13% increase since 2005 (2018 figures are here).

Since 1964, conclusive medical evidence of the deadly effects of tobacco consumption has led to a sharp decline in official support for producers and manufacturers of tobacco, although it contributes to the agricultural, fiscal, manufacturing, and exporting sectors of the economy. Despite laws around the world now often having some restrictions on smoking, the number of cigarettes produced each year is constantly rising.[2]

Extensive mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s and 2000s have led to 5 firms dominating world markets:ref

Associated Groups


ToDo: Competition Commission Reports, 1960s, Govt Policies, link, Taxation, Environmental Damage, Vaping: Chemical Composition, Cigarettes: Chemical Composition, Chemical Composition, Geographical Distribution, link. More info links on Talk:Tobacco_Industry page.

In the UK, the USA, Canada, etc, govts have supported the Tobacco Industry since before 1906. Documents from the Canadian Blais and Letourneau trials shed light on inside machinations usually concealed from the public gaze. From the early 1960s, research showing causal links between smoking and cancer was wilfully ignored, until the rapidly increasing rate of lung cancer became too obvious to be ignored. Subsequently, govts have simultaneously maintained policies of anti-smoking and pro-tobacco growing, with ludicrous tinkering around the edges such as tar reduction by varying cultivation and curing techniques - meanwhile, allowing advertising a completely free rein. The tobacco industry has been in agreement with tar reduction, but extremely resistant to reducing nicotine levels. Long-lived addicts are way more profitable. Beginning in the 1970s, new cultivars with very high levels of nicotine were developed by, amongst others, Brown & Williamson, Rothmans International - with public funds.ref

Taxation: The failure of the UK to tax adequately tobacco company profits,

  • 1999: A tradition ended when HM Queen Elizabeth II withdrew her Royal Warrant from tobacco manufacturers; this affected Gallaher Group plc, as well as its Benson and Hedges brands. While the Queen's great-grandfather (King Edward VII), grandfather (King George V), and father (King George VI) were all smokers (a habit which arguably contributed to their deaths), Her Majesty does not smoke, and her son and heir, the Prince of Wales, is an ardent anti-smoker.ref
  • 1954: Relaxation of govt controls.
  • 1934: Coupon Wars: The Martin Agreement came into operation.ref, para.63


  • Jun.03.2020: Finland set to stub out smoking by 2030. The proportion of Finns who smoke daily has fallen by 25% in the past 20 years to 14%, while e-cigarette smokers have remained at 1% of the population, the World Health Organisation said. lung illness linked to vaping; resistance from the industry prompted the USA govt to stop short prohibiting all flavours except tobacco. In the UK, Public Health England endorses flavours, whilst warning vaping may be harmful. David Crossland, Rhys Blakely, The Times.
  • Sept.07.2020: How Big Tobacco bypasses EU lobbying rules. The EU Commission's tax policy and trade departments has had numerous meetings with tobacco lobbyists over the last few years, and are clearly open to being influenced by the tobacco industry. The single exception is the DG SANTE, the health department. Olivier Hoedeman, EU Observer.
  • Jul.02.2020: Smoke and Mirrors. Weak EU transparency rules allow tobacco industry lobbyists to dodge scrutiny. Despite having signed on to the UN`s tobacco control treaty (UNFCTC) that obliges govts to protect public health decision-making from tobacco industry influence, the Commission fails to properly implement these obligations. Corporate Europe Observatory.


  1. ^ Industry Strategies. The tobacco industry uses a variety of unethical, often unlawful tactics to undermine implementation of life-saving policies. In 2015, the six largest cigarette companies made a profit of $9730 per each death from tobacco smoking. Tobacco Atlas. Accessed Feb.10.2020.
  2. ^ Manufacturing Cigarettes. The Tobacco Atlas. Original archived on Jan.18.2015.