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.
Extensive mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s and 2000s have led to 5 firms dominating world markets:ref
- British American Tobacco plc
- Philip Morris International Inc
- Imperial Brands plc
- Japan Tobacco Inc
- Altria Group Inc (parent of Philip Morris USA)
- Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), Website
- Forest, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, a UK political pressure group which campaigns against tobacco control activity.
- Vaping Industry Association
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
- 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.
- Dec.27.2018: Your mates vape. Your boss quit smoking. You promised to quit in 2019. But how will Big Tobacco give it up? It won't, not without its tentacles stuck into all manner of nicotine alternatives. John Lettice, The Register.
- World's biggest tobacco companies aim to kill Montana healthcare initiative. Industry heavyweights Altria and RAI Services, the corporate parents of the Marlboro and Camel cigarette brands, fiercely oppose proposed $2 tax on packs of cigarettes to be used to fund Medicaid in the state. Jessica Glenza, The Guardian.
- Jul.03.2018: Britain is winning the war on tobacco, health chief insists. Official data shows number of adults smoking declines as more people use e-cigarettes. Kevin Rawlinson, The Guardian.
- Oct.30.2017: Tobacco firms using 'clever tactics' to target poorest smokers, study finds. Cheaper brands, price-marking and smaller pack sizes are thwarting attempts to reduce UK smoking rates, researchers say. The Guardian.
- Apr.10.2017: The threat of Big Tobacco taking over the cannabis industry is closer than ever. For more than 50 years, rumors of behemoth companies taking over the weed industry have sewn themselves into the fabric of fact. Now that we’re closer than ever to full legalisation, those rumours look closer than ever to becoming reality. Reilly Capps, The Rooster.
- Jan.22.2015: MPs courted by tobacco firms criticise move towards plain packaging. Six of the 15 MPs who have registered financial interests related to tobacco companies have spoken out against proposal. Conservatives (5): Gerald Howarth, Angela Watkinson, Christopher Chope, Simon Hart and Glyn Davies. Labour (1): Gerry Sutcliffe. In Sept.2014, Simon Danczuk spoke out against plain packaging in an interview for Better Retailing. Matthew Weaver Caelainn Barr, The Guardian.
- 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.
- Manufacturing Cigarettes. The Tobacco Atlas. Original archived on Jan.18.2015.