Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research reveals tobacco company’s role in China’s cigarette smuggling crisis

18.07.2006
New research based on the internal documents of one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, British American Tobacco (BAT), suggests that it been complicit in the smuggling of tobacco into China and has benefited from this illicit trade.

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
Further information:
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>