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June 2nd, 2012:



The tobacco industry pioneered tactics such as denying the health impacts of its products

TobaccoTactics aims to provide up-to-date information on the Tobacco Industry, its allies or those promoting a pro-tobacco agenda. The website explores how the industry influences and often distorts public health debates, using a whole raft of lobbying and public relations tactics.

TobaccoTactics exposes these tactics and provides explanatory pages on each, illustrated using examples from a series Key Topics such as Point of Sale Display BanSmuggling; or Plain Packaging.

Take the example of Plain Packaging. In the Spring of 2012, the UK government launched a public consultation on whether to have plain packs on cigarettes. The issue is one of the most hotly debated public health policies of recent years. If you want to find out how the industry has already been manipulating the debate in Australia, the first country where plain packaging legislation has been passed, click Plain Packaging in Australia.

In the UK, one tobacco analyst predicts a “bare knuckle fight” from the industry over plain packaging. TobaccoTactics outlines the different tactics the industry might use when it comes to this fight. It collates examples from the tobacco industry’s own internal documents, which illustrate how it operated in the past and might well do so in the future when it comes to fighting further restrictions on the marketing of its products.

Investigating the activities of the main tobacco industry players and the links between the Organisations & People involved, TobaccoTactics also seeks to map the echo chamber of the industry and chart its influence on contemporary public health debates.

Like any Wiki project, it is a work in progress; the online equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge.

Key Topics
Click on the links below if you want to find out more on Key Topics currently surrounding the smoking debate.

Organisations and People


Click on the links below for examples of the different tactics the industry, its allies or those promoting a pro-tobacco agenda are using:


People may ask why the University of Bath has produced this pioneering Wiki. Tobacco remains a leading cause of death, disease and inequalities globally. To address this tobacco epidemic, it is necessary to examine its vector, the tobacco industry. Specifically, we need to explore how the tobacco industry influences public health, both directly through the promotion of products damaging to health, and indirectly through influence over public policy. The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath has set up to achieve this.

Health Warnings

Over the last decade, the release of millions of pages of previously secret internal industry documents following litigation in the United States exposed the conduct of the transnational tobacco companies, including:

  • ·        The gap between their internal acceptance of the health impacts of smoking and their active public denials of such impacts;
  • ·        The industry’s efforts to influence the research base for policy-making;
  • ·        The targeted marketing by the industry of cigarettes to vulnerable groups, and
  • ·        The deployment of enormous political influence by the industry to repel regulation.

The important body of research which has emerged has, however, largely been limited to academic articles that are not widely accessible to the general public. Furthermore, the most recent of these industry documents date only to around the mid-2000s. is a novel attempt to build on established document research by providing a more contemporary analysis of the activities of the Tobacco Industry, its allies and the pro-tobacco movement and to make this work publicly accessible.

Simultaneously addresses the need to monitor the tobacco industry activities, an action recognised by the World Health Organisation as essential to public health. Over one hundred and seventy countries around the world have signed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO. Article 5.3 of the Treaty requires signatories to protect their health policies “from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”. Guidelines on implementation of Article 5.3 highlight, inter alia, the key role that civil society can play in monitoring the tobacco industry, stating:

Nongovernmental organisations and other members of civil society not affiliated with the tobacco industry could play an essential role in monitoring the activities of the tobacco industry.

This is what is trying to do: help the public monitor the industry, its allies and others promoting the pro-smoking agenda.

Prof Anna Gilmore
head of the Tobacco Control Research Group
University of Bath

See the annotated version of this TobaccoTactics Background for more resources.

Editorial Oversight

TobaccoTactics is a project of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the Department for Health at the University of Bath and is overseen by two managing editors, Eveline Lubbers and Andrew Rowell.TobaccoTactics has a policy of Strict Referencing.
Any feedback or material to add? Please contact us at TobaccoTactics AT

Disclaimer. Some of the research for TobaccoTactics was funded by Cancer Research UK Limited andSmokefree South West. These funders have had no input into the research reported on this website or its conclusions. They are not responsible for the content or the publication, nor do they necessarily endorse it. Published by the University of Bath. Read the General Disclaimer.