Millions of BAT internal documents were made publicly available following a court case in the USA. The researchers, Dr. Kelley Lee of the London School and Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Dr. Jeff Collin of the University of Edinburgh, have analysed documents, available via the company’s Guildford Depository, and online from the BAT Document Archive. In their paper, ‘Key to the future’: British American Tobacco and cigarette smuggling in China, which is published in the journal PLoS Mecidine, they present evidence that smuggling has been strategically critical to BAT’s efforts to penetrate the Chinese market.
As smoking is declining in the world’s richer nations, tobacco companies are seeking to increase sales elsewhere. China is regarded as the ultimate prize among tobacco’s emerging markets – one in three of all cigarettes smoked are smoked there and the nation has the largest number of smokers in the world (350 million). It also has one of the world’s largest cigarette smuggling problems, a critical public health issue because it stimulates increased tobacco consumption and undermines tobacco control measures.
BAT has stated publicly that it does not approve of smuggling. However, the researchers say the internal BAT documents show that the company has restructured its operations in China expressly to control and expand the contraband trade across Asia. The documents state, for example, that exports from Hong Kong are the ‘key to the future’ for BAT, and that the vast majority of BAT's Hong Kong exports were intended for the contraband Chinese market.
According to Dr Lee, the findings clearly show that BAT, despite its efforts to portray itself in public as a responsible company, has been a critical part of the global smuggling problem, rather than an appropriate partner in its resolution.
Dr. Lee adds that, from BAT’s own records, ‘…it is clear that contraband has been a hugely profitable and integral part of BAT operations in China over the past two decades. Initially a means of circumventing restricted access to the Chinese market, it became a hugely profitable income stream. Contraband was then used to build market presence, in competition with other brands, with supply and price carefully managed’.
Following concerns raised by the House of Commons Health Select Committee in 2000, BAT’s conduct was the subject of a lengthy investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry, an investigation that was abandoned without the findings being made public. Dr. Collin notes, ‘Given the accumulated evidence of complicity in smuggling contained within its corporate documents, it seems both remarkable and disturbing that neither BAT nor any of its directors have yet been held accountable via litigation or public inquiry’.
The paper ends with a call for the broad obligations of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an historic treaty adopted by the member countries of the World Health Organization in 2003, to be enhanced to include a dedicated protocol on the illicit trade in tobacco.
Lindsay Wright | alfa
Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering