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July, 2013:

BAT Funded Lobbying Against Plain Packaging

BAT Funded Lobbying Against Plain Packaging

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In general, tobacco companies are reluctant to publish any details on the causes and organisations they support. In 2013, the issue of financial contributions to lobby groups and political campaigns, was raised at the AGM of British American Tobacco (BAT). In response to questions by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), BAT provided the following information on its involvement in campaigning against Plain Packaging.



Lobbying in Australia

BAT publicly launched a national campaign against plain packaging in Australia, aimed at distributing and disseminating promotional materials, in print, radio, billboards and social media. The campaign was launched on 17 May 2011 at an event broadcasted on national TV, but BAT also states that the campaign had actually started in 2010, and ran to 2012.

  • BAT costs 2011 – 2012: AUS$ 3,482,247.[1]

According to BAT, there is no current campaign funding in Australia against plain packaging, which came in to force on 1st December 2012.[2]

It is unclear from BAT’s information, whether it’s disclosed budget included the company’s involvement with the Alliance of Australian Retailers (AAR). The AAR is a tobacco industry front group, paid for by Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and BAT. It was set up specifically to oppose the Government’s introduction of Plain Packaging in Australia, and was operated by the Melbourne based public relations firm The Civic Group (TCG). When it was launched, the AAR did not reveal its industry connections. It presented itself as a grassroots campaign created by small businesses against plain packaging. Leaked internal emails exposing the group’s links to the tobacco industry showed that the director of Philip Morris’ Corporate Affairs, Chris Argent, was instrumental in the establishment and day-to-day running of the AAR.[3][4] The leaked documents included the contract between Philip Morris and TCG, and several emails exchanged between the two.[5] One of the documents revealed that TCG received:

  • $ 1,080,860 from Imperial Tobacco Australia;
  • $ 2,200,000 from British American Tobacco;
  • $ 2,161,720 from Philip Morris Limited.

Since the document leak, the AAR disclosed on its website that the AAR is in fact supported by BAT Australia, Philip Morris Limited and Imperial Tobacco Limited, albeitin the small print


BAT Australia is a corporate member of a number of business organisations in Australia, including the Institute of Public Affairs.[2]

Lobbying in New Zealand

BAZNZ launched a national media campaign in August 2012 and according to BAT all the campaign materials (print, radio, TV and social media) clearly disclose the funding by the tobacco company. The budget for the campaign in New Zealand quoted in the information from BAT, however, was for a longer period than that disclosed:

BAT has also supported retailers In New Zealand. No further details[1] beyond a single budget for the same two years:

Lobbying in Brussels

BAT has an office in Brussels which lobbies EU institutions on a broad range of issues, including plain packaging. [1] The approximate expenditure for this office appears on the EU’s Transparency Register:

· 2010 – € 500,000

· 2011 – € 450,000

· 2012 – € 1,000,000

One of the agencies paid by BAT to lobby in Brussels is EUK Consulting. The consultancy declared payment of between €50,000 – €100,000 by BAT for each year (2010-12).[6] It is not known which other consultancies are on the pay-roll of the BAT Brussels office. BAT does however volunteer to the EU Transparency Register that it is a member of a long list of associations and networks. For 2013, the list includes American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), British Chamber of Commerce Belgium, BusinessEurope, European Policy Centre (EPC), European Risk Forum (ERF), Kangaroo Group, International Chamber of Commerce UK (ICC UK), International Trademark Association (ITA), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy set up by the International Chamber of Commerce (BASCP ICC), Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM), European Smoking Tobacco Association (ESTA), European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC), and the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA). For 2011, the list was even longer. No budgets were specified. The organisations mentioned include lobby groups, chambers of commerce, think tanks as well as industry networks and front groups. Only two of them declare to have BAT as a member, the European Policy Centre and the European Risk Forum.

BAT does concede that:

In the EU, our financial contributions to third party associations in the EU are not related to plain packaging in particular, but instead relate to a broad range of policy issues or activities that are of general interest to the business community and the tobacco value chain.[1]

Lobbying in the UK

In the UK, BAT has spent £2 million on corporate and regulatory issues since April 2012. This amount incorporates a wide range of lobbying activity in the UK surrounding plain packaging and revisions of the EU Tobacco Products Directive.[1]

From BAT’s information it is not clear whether this £2 million figure includes just the budget for advertising, or also incorporates campaigns undertaken by third parties, or influential think tanks. The details of BAT budgets are detailed below.

Think Tanks in the UK

In 2011, BAT gave the Institute of Economic Affairs £10,000, plus £1,000 for hosting an event. The following year it donated a further £20,000 to the institute.[1] The tobacco company is planning to increase its contribution to the IEA in 2013 and 2014, but the amount has not been formally agreed yet.[2]

Third Parties and Front Groups in the UK

The creation of front groups and the hiring of third-parties is a tactic used by the tobacco industry to conceal their involvement. As detailed above, in the case of AAR, the Retailers Association in Australia, BAT insisted everything was done in a transparent way, despite the fact that the AAR did not disclose it had been founded by the industry when it was first launched. When pressed about the funding of third parties, BAT replies that :

British American Tobacco is happy to support those who believe in the same things we do. Our support may be financial or resources in-kind but we do not tell these bodies what to say or how to spend the money.

In 2011, at the BAT AGM, just days after a categorical denial, company chairman Richard Burrows confirmed the tobacco group had funded the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) in the UK, and had met with them and Hume Brophy to discuss the campaign against the display ban.[7] According to BAT, this financial support has not extended to campaigning on plain packaging. BAT argues that “[i]n the UK, BAT has not supported the NFRN specifically for any campaigning on plain packaging. We have only contributed our normal annual subscription.”

Overall, BAT admits that it is funding the following organisations, although no budgets are provided [1] :



Disclosure of support


Hands Off Our Packs (HOOP) campaign

BAT’s support is clearly disclosed on the HOOP website.

The Common Sense Alliance

Seeks evidence-based regulation across a wide range of topics.

BAT’s support is clearly disclosed on the Common Sense Alliance website.

Rural Shop Alliance

Funding for research project.

BAT’s support is clearly identified in the report

Scottish Wholesale Association

Funding support for postcard campaign during the consultation

BAT’s support is disclosed on each postcard

Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (including the Tobacco Retailers Alliance

Funding support for postcard campaign

The TMA support (of which BAT is a member) is identified on each postcard

Part of Larger Funding

A closer examination reveals that the majority of the organisations above are funded by the industry:

· The Hands Off Our Packs campaign was set up by Forest,

· Two of the founding members of the Alliance, Peter Sheridan and Roy Ramm, are cited as expert witnesses by tobacco companies in their submissions to the UK Consultation on Standardised Packaging (Sheridan by BAT and Ramm by PMI) – without acknowledgement of their involvement with the Alliance. Both have been lobbying on plain packaging as well – again, with only their credentials as former police officer mentioned.

· The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance (TRA) is funded by the TMA and offers a free membership to all independent retailers who sell tobacco. It is set up “to campaign on issues of relevance to both their businesses and to the industry.”[8]

Third Party Lobbying Orchestrated by the Tobacco Industry

The BAT overview can also be read as a first overview of public pressure on Parliament orchestrated by the tobacco industry, undertaken by third parties. It lists the main campaigns set up to voice concerns about plain packaging, by retailers, smokers and other members of the public.

  1. Hands Off Our Packs started in February 2012 and submitted a petition of 235,000 signatures to the Governments consultation (although questions were raised about the methods to acquire signatures).
  2. The Plain Nonsense campaign of the Scottish Wholesale Association included a postcard campaign and offered an opportunity to send a message to the consultation via the Plain Nonsense website. The small print says it was supported by BAT.
  3. The TRA launched the No to Plain Packs in May 2012. Two months later, 30.000 people in retail signed paper postcards to Parliament, TRA claimed.

Not mentioned in the BAT overview is the more recent campaign launched by Forest:

4. In February 2013, at a crucial time in the plain packaging debate, with the Department of Health’s report on the consultation expected to be released in the spring 2013, Forest announced a new Hands Off Our Packs campaign: Say No to Plain Packs. Its website sends a template letter opposing plain packaging to your local MP – at a click of a button.[9]


1. Hands Off Our Packs Forest campaign material.


2. Plain Nonsense Scottish Wholesale Association’s Register Your Opposition campaign.


3. No To Plain Packs, TRA post card campaign


4. Say No To Plain Packs Forest’s Write To Your MP campaign .


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Simon Millson, Group Head of Corporate Affairs for BAT, Letter to Deborah Arnott, ASH, 20 May 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Simon Millson, Group Head of Corporate Affairs for BAT, second letter to Deborah Arnott, ASH, 18 June 2013 2013
  3. The Tobacco Files -A definitive conclusion to the debate over plain-packaging
  4. Anne Davies, ‘Big Tobacco hired public relations firm to lobby government’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2010, accessed 8 June 2011
  5. Ballyhoo, Alliance of Australian Retailers Media Investment Reconciliation, 30 August 2010, Accessed February 2013
  6. EU Transparency Register, EUK Consulting, accessed August 2011 and May 2013
  7. The Guardian, BAT admits bankrolling newsagents’ tobacco campaign, 28 April 2011, accessed 15 July 2011
  8. Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance website, About the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, undated, accessed June 2013
  9. Forest, Email your MP about plain packaging, HOOPS webpage, 11 February 2013, accessed February 2013

Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance’_Alliance

Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance

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The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance (TRA) is a tobacco industry funded campaign group, representing UK independent retailers selling tobacco. Until May 2008, it was known as the Tobacco Alliance (TA).

The TRA’s website says it is a “coalition of 26,000 independent shopkeepers who all sell tobacco products” and adds that it is “funded by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association which means we can offer a free membership to all independent retailers who sell tobacco. We campaign on issues of relevance to both their businesses and to the industry”.[1] In the financial year 2000/1 the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) budgeted to spend £180,000 on the group, but forecast that the actual spend would be £190,000.[2]

TRA has been represented by the public relations (PR) companies PR21 and its sister company Edelman.[3]


History: ‘How to set up a Tobacco Alliance’

In 1983, a TA employee, Tony St Aubyn, the then assistant director of the Public Relations subcommittee of the Tobacco Advisory Council, gave a presentation to a public relations workshop in Washington called ‘How to set up a Tobacco Alliance’. He explained that UK tobacco companies saw it as part of their “total communications package”, with the TA being ” born as a communications network for all those who work in the industry, for the industry or whose livelihoods depend upon it”. There was an emphasis on encouraging others to campaign for their ‘rights’ and ‘freedom’, and one of the TA’s aims was “to help put forward the case for individual freedom to counter any moves that might further restrict the right of individuals to enjoy smoking”.[4]

Furthermore, tobacco manufacturers wanted to present the Alliance as independent from cigarette companies:

Early on we decided that it would be preferable to keep the Alliance at arms length from TAC and the industry and with its own identity and address, to emphasize to supporters, as far as is practical, that it had a degree of independence. Thus while the industry determines policy and provides the funds, the day to day management is the responsibility of our PR agents Daniel J Edelman. (TAC is the Tobacco Advisory Council, the predecessor to the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association)

The TA presentation also highlighted “the concept of Alliance ‘supporters’ rather than ‘members’ which would have required their blanket agreement on policies and views. Such agreement would have been virtually impossible in view of the diversity of the various groups”.[4]

When the Tobacco Alliance (which later became the TRA) was established the industry stated that it “would encourage its supporters to act either as individuals or as representatives of their own organisations” in order to appear as a separate entity to the industry. It was also “stressed that the Alliance was needed because in order to be heard the entire tobacco family must speak with a unified voice and with confident command of the facts…”[4]

Current Policy Positions and Campaigning

Against a Tobacco Retail Display Ban in Shops

The TRA is opposed to a ban on retail displays of tobacco in shops. Its spokesman Ken Patel says: “This measure will placed [sic] a terrible burden on small businesses like mine, and there is no evidence to suggest it would have any positive impact on youth smoking rates.”[5]

>>Save Our Shops – Lobby Campaign Funded by the Industry

TRA launched ‘Save Our Shops’, an initiative where the Tobacco Retailers Alliance would provide shops with materials to run their own campaign in-store, and get customers to demonstrate their support. Custumors could sign postcards which retailers would send on to their local MP, demonstrating that the public was against a display ban.

The campaign was a succes. MPs got hundreds of postcards bearing the Save Our Shop campaign logo, urging them not to back the government’s proposals. The cards stated: ‘As my local MP, I hope you will protect our independent local shops by opposing this proposal.’ More than 100 MPs signed an early-day motion in Parliament agreeing with the proposal that any plan to sell cigarettes under the counter should be firmly ‘evidenced-based’, a key message pushed by the Save Our Shop campaign. In December 2008, however, the Guardian exposed ‘Save Our Shops’ as a dirty trick campaign. MPs expressed dismay that the campaign had been orchestrated and funded by the tobacco companies, the paper wrote[6]

[M]any MPs had been unaware the campaign was the brainchild of the Tobacco Retailers’ Association (TRA), an offshoot of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, which represents the interests of three tobacco companies: BAT, Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco.

The Save Our Shop campaign did little to make its links with the tobacco lobby apparent and its postcards bore no reference to the connection between it and the cigarette manufacturers. The TRA, which also spoke out against the proposals, did not publicise its links with the manufacturers’ body, although the latter’s website carries a small reference to the connection between the two organisations.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of anti-smoking group Ash, accused the tobacco lobby of ‘hiding behind the cloak of retailer respectability.’

Against Plain Packaging

According to the TRA, “Traders are concerned that a ban on branding will make life tougher for shopkeepers who sell tobacco without doing anything to reduce smoking rates.”[5]

>> No To Plain Packs – Lobby Campaign Funded by the Industry

In May 2012 the TRA launched the ‘plain packaging postcard campaign’ in response to the UK Department of Health’s consultation on standardised packaging. The campaign’s objective was to distribute ‘no to plain packs’ postcards to retailers who are then encouraged to send them to the Department of Health. TRA spokesperson John Abbott said that “it’s really important that independent retailers air their views on plain packaging through this consultation”, arguing that[7]:

When we are serving customers, it will take much longer to find the product a customer wants if they are all in plain packs and look similar.

Customers may also focus more on price if plain packaging is introduced and this will affect the turnover of retailers.

The TRA offered members arguments against plain packaging and also advise on how to respond to the consultation at its websites, and included the organisation’s own submission to the website.[8]

Throughout the duration of the consultation, retail magazines such as the Grocer and Retail Newsagent consistently featured opposition messages to plain packaging and advertised the TRA plain packaging postcard campaign.

In July 2012, the TRA reported that 30,000 retailers had so far signed postcards, demonstrating how public consultations on tobacco control measures can be flooded with industry influenced opinion.[9]

In 2013, BAT acknowledged it had granted funding support for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance postcard campaign via the TMA.[10]

Against Tobacco Smuggling

The TRA is convinced the illegal trade will profit most from plain packaging[7]:

When around one in every six cigarettes in this country is already illicit, the criminals operating out of tab houses and street markets, undercutting proper shops and not caring who they sell to, will be rubbing their hands in glee.

The TRA supports enforcement acting by Trading Standars to identify, fine and ban from selling tobacco those shops and retailers who do not take proper precaution against selling to minors.

The November 201 TRA Newsletter included a call to report instances of tobacco smuggling. To inform your MP, the Alliance offers a free 0800 number for help to find their adress. For those who want to make an anonymous call, the Newsletter refers to the Customs Hotline or contact the RTA.

Direct Lobbying Activities

The political party conference season is one of the busiest times in the Tobacco Retailers Alliance calendar. In 2011, The TRA team went to the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative conferences, and also to the SNP conference. The report on the tour in the TRA Newsletter reads as an overview of those MPs and party-members responsive to direct lobbying.[11]

Liberal Democrats

Those who stopped by the stand at the LibDem conference included Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (and MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch); Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills (and Strathspey and Twickenham MP) and Stephen Gilbert, the MP for St Austell and Newquay. Ed Davey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (and Kingston and Surbiton MP) also visited and his discussion focused on the business side of retailing. Another visitor was the Deputy Chief Whip, Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland.


Solly Khonat raised the issue of the display ban with the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, himself!” The team also met with Camberwell and Peckam MP, Harriet Harman and with the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and “rising Labour star”, Chuka Umunna (MP for Streatham) and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Other “leading lights of the party” that stopped by the stall were the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls (MP for Morley & Outwood), Stephen Timms, the Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills (East Ham MP) and Shaun Woodward, the then Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (MP for St Helens South and Whiston) The focus of the converstations was on the the effect of tobacco smuggling on local communities.


The TRA stand was “pride of place in the exhibition area and attracted numerous visitors over the four days” and Iain Duncan Smith the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Chingford and Woodford Green MP) stopped by.

Scottish National Party

Geoff Barrett, the Scottish TRA Spokesman (left) took part in a panel discussion held by CitizenCard, the UK’s leading proof-of-age scheme. The event was entitled: “No ID No Sale; “Guess their age and face a £10,000 fine”. Also on the panel were: Edinburgh Councillor Tom Buchanan; David McNeill of Young Scot; Gordon Robb from Highland Trading Standards; Janet Hood from the British Institute of Innkeeping; and Paul Waterson of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.

MP: Conflict of Interests?

In June 2009, then Labour MP for Tyne Bridge, David Clelland, was criticised by public health advocates for campaigning against Government plans to ban the display of cigarette packets in shops and newsagents without declaring a family link to a senior TRA lobbyist. The Sun newspaper reported that Clelland is the stepfather of Katherine Graham, who was the TRA’s campaign manager. The MP told the newspaper that the family link had no impact on his views, and that he did not declare this link “because he didn’t want to give the impression he was raising issues in Parliament because his stepdaughter worked for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance”.[12]

Public Relations Strategies in 2000

Until 2000 public relations (PR) firm Edelman was contracted to represent the TA, but in late 2000 the TMA re-tendered the contract. [13] At the time, strong evidence was emerging that tobacco manufacturers were heavily involved in tobacco smuggling (see the pages on Imperial and Gallaher Involvement in Tobacco Smuggling and BAT Involvement in Tobacco Smuggling). There was mounting concern among the public and politicians about the amount of money being lost to the public purse as a result of the companies’ complicity. This was a central issue that the successful applicant would have to address.

An internal tobacco industry document, including a ‘summary of agency pitches’, reveals that four PR companies were invited to present their proposals.[14] All information and quotations in this section are from this document unless an alternative source is cited.

Below is an overview of how each agency pitched their proposal to the TMA.

‘Reposition TA as an originator of research’

Corporate Responsibility Consulting (CRC) – a firm that works for British American Tobacco and has run the TMA-funded Atmosphere Improves Results Initiative since 1997[15][16] – put in a joint bid with public affairs company BFi. The team for the presentation included Oliver Griffiths and Charles Baldwin for CRC, and Dee Fernandez and David Armstrong for BFi.

Their main proposal was to “emphasise damage to retailers”, “broaden the ally base”, “reposition TA as originator of research studies” and “talk up community dimension” including a possible campaigning called ‘Community Action on Tobacco Smuggling’. Their budget was £197,000.

The TMA’s verdict was that CRC had a “good global overview based on current knowledge but plans overambitious within constraints of current budget. ‘Mix and match’ with BFi potentially a difficulty”.[14]

‘Change TA’s name’

Brook Wilkinson (BW) put in a bid with a company called Media Strategy “to augment [its] political and media expertise”. BW was already working for the TMA.[17] The presenting team included *Rosemary Brook and Trudi Smith for BW, and Charles Lewington and Karen Alcock for Media Strategy.

BW wanted to “redefine TA objective to limiting tobacco tax rises to level of inflation”, “act fast to take advantage of ‘election fever’”, “widen TA’s partner base”, “change TA name in order to remove ‘tobacco’ – Shopkeepers Opposed to Smuggling suggested” and “encourage greater dialogue/feedback with retailers”. Their budget was £150,000 plus “extra disbursements” including “party conference stands”.

The TMA’s verdict? “Realistic approach based on existing knowledge of TA achievements to date. Involvement of Media Strategy will add value but at a cost. Paul Mason [spokesperson for TA] not keen on new name for TA.”[14]

‘Gather intelligence and have instant rebuttal’

The third agency that was invited to present was PR21, who’s presentation team included Jonathan Hopkins, who was responsible for planning, Joe Brice client management and Nick Tennant for media relations.

The TMA noted that PR 21 provided an “in-house Labour/Conservative mix. Hopkins ex Labour Party/Trades Union campaign adviser. Brice former adviser to Sebastian Coe”.

PR21 proposed to emphasise “relationship building programmes”, “play up community angle and personalise the argument – eg, your shopkeeper, your town, etc”, “work on key decision makers and the circles of influence around them, especially in regions”, “gather competitor intelligence and have instant rebuttal response”, “use website to capture and manage information” and “set up ‘Working to Stop Smuggling’ round table forum in August. They would charge £169,900.

The TMA thought PR21 had a “sharp edged ‘New Labour’ approach to the brief” and would provide a “smooth adoption and harmonization of the Edelman pedigree”. They would offer a “no frills programme which could achieve least disruptive transition”.[14]

‘Rebut manufacturers’ complicity

The fourth agency to present was PPS, including Mark Pendlington, Richard Mollet, Dr Steve John, andPhilippa White


PPS offered a core team based in London “but supplemented by PPS regional network in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Cambridge and Leeds”. It suggested promoting “greater public awareness through advertising campaign and regionalized campaigning”, “personalising the cost – criminality, counterfeit, cost per voter/household”, “changing of TA name to ‘Anti-Smuggling Alliance’ to achieve common cause with other sectors”, “rebuttal of ‘manufacturers’ complicity’, ‘doesn’t affect me’, ‘can’t stop smugglers’” and better use of technology “to keep retailers informed and motivated”. Their charge was £114,000 “plus flexible disbursements on projects”.

The TMA thought PPS had a “well researched and presented pitch, manifest commitment to the project and advantage of ‘fresh blood’ approach. Strong intellectual rigour with likely, but untested, ‘hands on’ application. Regional network a bonus.”[14]

It is interesting to note that the PPS proposal emphasised defending tobacco manufacturers against allegations of complicity in smuggling, even though the proposal was to represent retailers who were being undercut by the illegal trade.

The TMA decided to award the contract to PR21 in December 2000. The company started the work on 15 January 2001.[18]


  1. Tobacco Retailers Alliance website, About the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, undated, accessed 23 January 2012
  2. Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, Statement to Accompany Account Submitted to TMA Board of Directors, 20 February 2001, accessed 23 January 2012
  3. TMA Campaign Group, Minutes of meeting, 11 January 2001, accessed 23 January 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Tony St Aubyn, How to set up a Tobacco Alliance, Tobacco Alliance, 20 September 1983, accessed 31 January 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 TRA, Retailers’ disappointment at Lansley’s back-track on display ban, undated, accessed 31 January 2012
  6. Jame Doward, MPs fall foul of ‘dirty’ tricks by tobacco giants, the Guardian, 14 Dec 2008, accessed May 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance, Retailer Plain Packaging Postcard Campaign Launched, 11 May 2012, accessed 31 May 2012
  8. See both and, which are almost identical today, also under the tab ‘plain packaging’, accessed May 2013
  9. Tobacco Retailer’s Alliance, 30,000 shop staff against plain packaging, 2012, accessed August 2012
  10. Simon Millson, Group Head of Corporate Affairs for BAT, Letter to Deborah Arnott, ASH, 20 May 2013
  11. Tobacco Retailers Alliance, Newsletter, November 2011, accessed June 2013
  12. Coreena Ford, ‘MP David Clelland blasted over “smokescreen”‘, Sunday Sun, 21 June 2009, accessed 31 January 2012
  13. TMA, Tobacco Alliance Account, 19 December 2000, accessed 30 January 2012
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 TMA, Tobacco Alliance Account Summary of Agency Pitches, undated, accessed 30 January 2012
  15. CRC website, Our work, undated, accessed 24 January 2012
  16. Air Initiative website, Air Initiative homepage, undated, accessed 24 January 2012
  17. Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, Campaign Group Meeting, 10 December 1998, accessed 23 January 2012
  18. TMA, Tobacco Alliance Account, 19 December 2000, accessed 30 January 2012

ASH Briefing: UK Tobacco Control Policy and Expenditure

Download PDF : ASH_667

Big Tobacco vs Little Uruguay

Big Tobacco vs Little Uruguay

Jul 3, 2013 8:01pm by Jude Webber


Philip Morris International, the makers of Marlboro, the world’s best-selling cigarette brand, has won the right to take its case against marketing restrictions and graphic health warnings in the South American country to the World Bank’s arbitration tribunal, ICSID.

A decision is still years away, but spokeswoman Julie Soderlund told beyondbrics the company believed Uruguay had violated a bilateral investment treaty with Switzerland, where Philip Morris is based. She welcomed the decision by ICSID to accept jurisdiction to hear the case, adding:

This will be the first time in this case that there will be independent assessment of these arbitrary and unnecessary regulations.

Philip Morris objects to being made to pull, under the rules introduced by Uruguay in 2009, different variants of the same brand from shop shelves. That meant that it could not sell, say, Marlboro gold alongside Marlboro Red, and ended up pulling 7 out of 12 cigarette varieties, it complains.

It also objects to having its branding crowded out on cigarette packets, which Uruguay has since 2009 required to be 80 per cent covered, front and back, by graphic health warnings (after, it says, this survey was conducted). Prior to that, the warnings covered 50 per cent, which Philip Morris did not contest. (See the evolution below).

Source: PMI

Even though the tobacco giant has won the right to proceed with its case, Uruguay is convinced that tough anti-smoking laws and the policies to which Philip Morris objects, implemented under by Tabaré Vázquez, the former president and an oncologist, are paying off.

Vázquez is widely tipped to return to power in elections next year, and has made clear that he is passionate about the anti-smoking cause. Only in May, he gave a conference at the Inter-American Development Bank on the subject. So expect no let-up there.

The government is due to hold a news conference later on Wednesday.

Uruguay is not the only country that Big Tobacco is taking to court. Philip Morris and others also object to Australia’s plain packaging rules for cigarette and Thailand’s move to implement health warnings covering 85 per cent of the packets.

But the Uruguay suit is an interesting test case in a country considered one of the best places in Latin America to invest. One to watch.

Stage 2 Keep em hooked so they might resort back to Stage 1


Health: Tobacco Companies Introduce Their First Electronic Cigarettes

You +1’d this publicly. Undo

KYW Newsradio04/07/2013

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Coming to a store shelf near you: The latest offering from some major tobacco companies is an electronic cigarette.

Chavit, Savellano misused P26M tobacco funds – Ombudsman


Chavit, Savellano misused P26M tobacco funds – Ombudsman

Posted on 07/04/2013 8:15 PM  | Updated 07/05/2013 8:29 AM

EMPTY-HANDED. The tobacco fund is intended to help improve the lives of tobacco farmers. They remain poor despite billions of pesos received by Ilocos Sur. Photo by Aries RufoEMPTY-HANDED. The tobacco fund is intended to help improve the lives of tobacco farmers. They remain poor despite billions of pesos received by Ilocos Sur. Photo by Aries Rufo

MANILA, Philippines – Graft charges will be filed against two former governors of Ilocos Sur for allegedly misusing more than P26 million of the province’s share in the tobacco excise tax 12 years ago.

In a resolution dated July 3, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of 3 counts of graft against Luis “ChavitSingson, who served at the capitol 1998-2001, and 2 counts against Deogracias Victor Savellano, who served 2001-2003.

Morales said they violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Estelita Cordero, chairperson of the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance (SISA) Foundation, filed the complaint with the Ombudsman. She alleged that a total of P26,060,500 was released as financial assistance to Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc (MFPII) during the terms of the two governors.

The financial assistance was taken from the province’s share in the proceeds from the national government’s tobacco excise tax collection, as provided in RA 7171 (An Act to Promote the Development of the Farmers in the Virginia Tobacco Producing Provinces).

A special report by Newsbreak showed that the Ilocos Sur provincial government under Singson and Savellano in fact either misused, misappropriated, or failed to account for at least P1.3 billion of its tobacco fund from 1999 to 2005.

READ: P1 billion in tobacco fund misused

Ilocos Sur is among the 4 tobacco-producing provinces that have been sharing in 15 percent of the tobacco excise tax proceeds from the national government since 1993. Half of the fund goes to Ilocos Sur.

MFPII, a private entity, was not qualified to receive assistance from the tobacco fund. However, Singson and Savellano entered into several memoranda of agreement (MOA) with the company. They entered succeeding MOAs and released the funds without inspecting or auditing the projects funded under the initial MOA.

Singson entered into 4 MOAs with MFPII on February 5, February 20, May 28, and June 2001. The amounts of P9.18 million, P4 million, P3 million, and P8 million were released to fund unspecified livelihood projects.

Savellano issued the check for the last MOA that Chavit signed. When Savellano assumed the governorship, he entered into another MOA with MFPII on December 27, 2001, giving the group financial assistance worth P1,880,500 to fund “livelihood production/payment of accounts payable.” The check was issued the following day.

The Ombudsman’s 31-page resolution said Singson and Savellano “acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence” when they entered into those MOAs and released public funds that gave unwarranted benefits to MFPII.

“MFPII cannot be considered an NGO/PO as to warrant the grant of financial assistance from the government,” the resolution said.

The documents examined by investigators showed that “the funds were intended to be used in maintaining the operation of the plant – from the payment of its utilities and supplies down to the salary of its employees” which “plainly signifies that MFPII was not in a stable financial condition to sustain its operations, let alone implement a socio-economic or service-based project” for the benefit of tobacco farmers.

MFPII “ceased its operations barely four months after the last release of funds in its favor, ironically, due to lack of funds,” investigators found. –

P1 billion in tobacco funds misused


P1 billion in tobacco funds misused

by Aries C. Rufo
Posted on 07/04/2013 7:47 PM  | Updated 07/05/2013 1:08 AM

WHITE ELEPHANT. Funded by the tobacco tax collection, this tomato processing plant in Ilocos Sur has not processed a single tomato. Photo by Aries RufoWHITE ELEPHANT. Funded by the tobacco tax collection, this tomato processing plant in Ilocos Sur has not processed a single tomato. Photo by Aries Rufo

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Thursday, July 4, announced that she had ordered the filing of graft charges against former Ilocos Sur governors Luis “ChavitSingson and Deogracias Victor Savellano, who misused more than P26 million of the province’s share in the tobacco excise tax proceeds. It’s a small amount to be indicted for. In this Newsbreak report published on May 4, 2009, we showed how the provincial government – mostly under Singson – in fact misused, misappropriated, or failed to account for at least P1.3 billion of the tobacco fund. Four tobacco-producing provinces receive 15% of the tobacco excise tax collection: Abra, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and La Union. Among them, it was in Ilocos Sur where government auditors found white elephant projects and questionable expenses.

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – In Santa town in this province, a huge tomato processing plant stands in a deserted area. The silence of the place is eerie, and visitors can only guess how it was as a beehive of activity for a decade or so.

The fact, however, is that it has not processed a single tomato since it was built in 1999. Residents derisively call it the province’s version of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

The unused tomato processing plant, constructed to the tune of P332 million, is one of the poorly thought-out projects financed by government funds that were supposed to improve the economic condition of tobacco farmers.

It is one of the projects worth a total of at least P1.3 billion that government auditors found were either misappropriated, misused, or remained unaccounted for by the provincial government of Ilocos Sur in a span of seven years, based on available records.

The amount could be bigger, considering that it has been receiving share in the tobacco excise tax for 16 years now, or since 1993, but the only available findings of the Commission of Audit (COA) are from 1999 to 2005.

Republic Act 7171, or “An Act to Promote the Development of the Farmers in the Virginia Tobacco-Producing Provinces,” was enacted in 1992 through the efforts of Ilocos Sur Rep. Luis “ChavitSingson (who would become governor for nine years after that). It mandates that the provinces of Ilocos Sur, La Union, Ilocos Norte, and Abra get 15 percent of the taxes on Virginia type A cigarettes collected by the national government.

Lion’s share

We focused our investigation on Ilocos Sur because it has been getting the lion’s share of the tobacco excise tax fund for local governments. It is also where government auditors found cases of blatant misuse of the funds, repeatedly committed over the years, and have remained unresolved until now.

La Union Rep. Victor Ortega told Newsbreak that the15-percent tax share is divided as follows: 50 percent for Ilocos Sur; 20 percent, La Union; I5 percent, Ilocos Norte; and 5 percent, Abra. The share corresponds to the volume of tobacco produced by each province.

According to available data from the Department of Budget and Management, the four provinces got a combined tobacco excise tax share of P10.057 billion from 1999 to 2007. Based on the sharing scheme among the provinces, half of the amount—P5.02 billion—went to Ilocos Sur.

Tobacco Excise Tax Share of Ilocos Region


Amount (in billion pesos)





















SOURCE: Department of Budget and Management

Ilocos Sur Governor Deogracias Victor Savellano said that the tobacco tax share is divided this way: 40 percent for the provincial government; 30 percent, municipal governments; and 30percent, district representatives.

If, based on this formula, the provincial government received P3 billion from 1999 to 2006, then a third of that amount was found by COA to have been misused or unaccounted for. In that period, Singson was governor for five years; Savellano, for three.

National notoriety

The tobacco excise tax was largely uncontroversial since its inception, but gained national notoriety in 2000 when it was used as a basis for the impeachment of President Joseph Estrada.

Singson, then on his last term as governor, alleged that Estrada took P130 million of the province’s P200-million tobacco excise tax share, and Estrada’s crony Charlie “AtongAng (Singson’s rival for the control of the botched Bingo 2-Ball, a legal version of jueteng) pocketed P25 million from the excise tax.

Estrada was ousted in January 2001 and convicted of plunder in September 2007. Ang, who admitted to his crime, was found guilty of corruption of public official and was sentenced to six years in prison.

However, Singson’s accusing Estrada of treating the tobacco excise tax as a personal fund is like the pot calling the kettle black. Before he blew the whistle on President Estrada, Singson had already been investigated for misusing Ilocos Sur’s tobacco tax fund.

In 1999, a special audit of the province’s share in the excise tax was conducted on the behest of the Ilocos chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The audit covered the period from January 1996 to June 1999.

By December 1999, or a month before Estrada’s downfall, the National Bureau of Investigation had recommended to the justice department the filing of plunder charges against Singson in connection with a P170-million cash advance from the tobacco excise tax share.

Overpriced plant

RA 7171 is specific with the kinds of projects that the LGUs can fund with their share from the tobacco excise tax:

· Cooperative projects that will increase the tobacco farmers’ income.

· Development of alternative farming system.

· Agro-industrial projects that will be co-managed and eventually owned by tobacco farmers.

· Infrastructure projects, such as farm-to-market roads.

None of the Ilocos Sur projects worth P1.3 billion fell under these classifications, the COA findings indicate.

A total of P86.142 million from the province’s tobacco tax share from1996 to 1999 was initially appropriated for the construction of the tomato paste plant. It was augmented by a P245.887-million loan from the Philippine National Bank. The plan was to source the payments to the PNB from succeeding remittances from RA 7171.

COA found the construction project overpriced by P24.7 million, benefiting a private contractor, NS International Inc. The contractor was paid P73.5 million for civil works when the evaluated cost was only P48.7 million. COA sought a refund of the overprice.

Funding private entity

The provincial government also left to the discretion of NS International Inc. how proceeds from the PNB loan would be appropriated. The contractor, in turn, failed to substantially document a total of P123million in “chargeable expenses,” the COA report noted.

We gathered from provincial sources that the PNB loan has ballooned to P1billion, including interests, from the original P245.887 million, allegedly due to the provincial government’s failure to pay the loan. Governor Savellano wouldn’t confirm it, and said he was “not sure” how much the provincial government now owes the PNB.

The provincial government also created the corporation Ilocos Sur Tomato Paste Plant Inc. (ISTPP) to manage the tomato paste plant. The COA found, however, that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan did not authorize the creation of ISTPP. This created a situation where the provincial government was financing a private project.

Securities and Exchange Commission records show that the incorporators of ISTPP were private individuals, but Singson, representing the provincial government, was the major stockholder.

In its reply to COA, the provincial government stressed that some civil works items were not reflected in the submitted program of work, thus the additional expenses. It admitted, however, that there were procedural lapses in documenting the implementation of the project “due to unforeseen circumstances,” which it did not identify or explain.

Savellano, while admitting that the tomato paste plant had been idle for years, says it is now being rented out for P100,000 a month to a foreign firm. “At least, it is now making some revenue,” he says. If information on the unpaid PNB loan is true, however, that rental might be just enough to pay the monthly interests with the bank.

Barns and cash advances

Thirty-four tobacco flue-curing and re-drying facilities were constructed using money from RA 7171, but, like the tomato paste plant, they were attended by hasty, irregular transactions.

In 1998, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan appropriated P76 million for the construction of 34 flue curing barns. Yet, a contract was awarded to Fastduc Builders for P360.6 million.

The provincial government explained that there was indeed insufficient appropriation for the project, but it was banking on future tobacco tax shares from the national government to cover the difference. It said the urgency and nature of the project necessitated the hasty process. “Procedural lapses should not defeat the noble purpose of the project especially when there was no damage or injury caused to the government,” it said.

The COA was convinced that damage or injury to the public was committed, and that it appears private interests were served. Auditors found that the cost for the 34 barns was overpriced by P28 million.

The report also took note of cash advances totalling P190 million that were granted to Singson for supposed payment for the flue-curing barns. The COA said the cash advances should not have been allowed since “these were not intended for petty expenses and the disbursement exceeded P15,000,” as set forth in a COA Circular in February 1997.

The COA said Singson failed to present liquidation documents for the cash advances. It was only in August 2000, when Singson’s relationship with Estrada began to sour, that he presented documents.

Dubious NGO

EMPTY-HANDED. The tobacco fund is intended to help improve the lives of tobacco farmers. They remain poor despite billions of pesos received by Ilocos Sur. Photo by Aries RufoEMPTY-HANDED. The tobacco fund is intended to help improve the lives of tobacco farmers. They remain poor despite billions of pesos received by Ilocos Sur. Photo by Aries Rufo

Replying to the findings, the provincial government said that the governor had the authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to enter into a contract. It said time was running out on the project, thus justifying the emergency releases to Singson.

The COA said the provincial government failed to produce documents that would show that the equipment for the tobacco barns were purchased using Singson’s cash advances.

Some P300 million of the RA 7171 fund was granted to a non-government organization, which did not have the expertise to assist the provincial government in its projects. In 1998, the Southern Ilocos Sur Federation of Tobacco Based Cooperatives, which had assets of only P215,000, got the financial assistance, supposedly to operate the tomato paste plant.

Of the P300 million given to the federation, a total of P110.178 million were not properly documented. Its president, despite repeated requests, failed to submit the required papers to support its expenses. Of this amount, some P5 million granted to the NGO’s president remained unliquidated, the report said.

In2001, Singson ended his nine-year stint as governor, and his protégé Savellano succeeded him. In Savellano’s watch, the findings and recommendations of the special COA report were forgotten, and alleged irregularities in the use of RA 7171 funds continued.

ISTPPI: Regular beneficiary

In2003, the COA found that “improper charges” totalling P45.7 million were made by the provincial government against the tobacco excise tax fund.

That year, the Ilocos Sur government also gave financial assistance of P37million to the Ilocos Sur Tomato Paste Plant Inc. (ISTPPI) that was not supported by liquidation reports. Further investigation showed that the financial assistance was regarded as a donation instead of a loan to the ISTPPI.

In 2004, the COA report noted disbursements totalling P85.6 million improperly charged against the tobacco excise fund.

Moreover, the provincial government granted another financial assistance to ISTPPI, this time amounting to P20 million, despite the latter’s failure to liquidate the financial assistance it got in 2003.

Another NGO, Buying and Bulk Curing Center in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, got P31million as financial assistance. Investigation showed that it was an undertaking of the provincial government.

In 2005, when Singson had returned as governor, the provincial government made another improper diversion totalling P72.5 million, the COA found. For the third year, ISTPPI got P19.6 million, in spite of two previous COA recommendations disallowing it from receiving any funds.

Ilocos Norte more judicious

The misuse of Ilocos Sur’s tobacco funds appears more blatant when compared to how another beneficiary province, Ilocos Norte, used its tobacco excise tax share during that period.

Based on COA reports from2004 to 2006, Ilocos Norte was more prudent and judicious in using the fund. During the audit period, the provincial government used most of its tobacco fund to construct farm-to-market roads and rehabilitate agricultural facilities. Fifty-five of the 76 projects funded by the tobacco excise tax were deemed to directly affect the farmers.

Thirty-one projects involving the asphalting of roads and construction of new bridges were undertaken in 2004 and 2005.

Ten of the projects in 2006 were directly useful to the farmers. These included construction of the P1.6-million worth communal irrigation system, and the acquisition of tobacco barns and purchase of fertilizers and supplies at P5.5 million.

In contrast, Ilocos Sur used the tobacco fund on spare parts and repair of service vehicles used by the Office of the Governor, the purchase of 1,000 t-shirts, the purchase of canned goods, and cash advances for the wages of contractual workers, among other “disallowed” expenses.

Ilocos Sur also purchased office supplies and construction materials for the provincial capitol, constructed a badminton court, and paid P6.4million to a public relations firm using the tobacco fund.

Special treatment

Savellano, who re-assumed the gubernatorial post in 2007, says he has not been using the funds from RA 7171 after the DBM’s re-computation last year shrunk the four provinces’ share in the tobacco excise tax collection. Ilocos Sur got only P48 million in 2008. “I don’t care anymore about the fund. It is too little now,” Savellano told Newsbreak in an interview.

To date, the charges against Singson over the misuse of the tobacco fund are pending before the Ombudsman. No charges have been filed against provincial officials and private entities who treated the fund like their personal money.

Since 1999, concerned citizens in Ilocos Sur had hoped that the COA findings would be a first step toward holding erring officials and individuals accountable. But Edsa Dos happened, and Singson, the longest caretaker of RA 7171 funds, became President Gloria Arroyo’s fair-haired boy and star witness against Estrada.

The special treatment includes the national government turning a blind eye to the plunder of Ilocos Sur’s tobacco funds. –

Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Open and Semi-Open Settings: A Systematic Review

Download PDF : ehp.1205806

The smoking ban – key info – JEJU WEEKLY

The Korean government has enacted a new law to lower smoking rates which came into force on July 1, 2013. The government is seeking to improve public health by lowering smoking rates and bringing smoking law into line with other countries.

Government health officials said each district across the country will be responsible for implementing the plan. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province says it is cooperating with health officials around lowering smoking rates and enforcing the law. Officials hope the law will result in a cultural change as by 2015 the ban will be extended to all businesses irrespective of size.

Smoking rates in Korea in 2012 were 7 percent for women and 44.3 percent for men; the OECD average was 17.5 and 27.5 percent for women and men, respectively.

Although there has been a decline in smoking rates among men in recent years, Korea is one of only three countries – along with Czech Republic and Greece – to see an increase in smoking among women in the last 10 years. In 2000, smoking rates were as high as 80 percent for men and as low as 2 percent for women.

From when is the new law effective?

From July 1, 2013.

What does the law ban?

Smoking in all restaurants, bars and coffee shops of more than 150 square meters (45 pyeong).

Are any businesses exempt?

PC Bangs will have until 31 Dec. to comply. Until then they have the option of setting up smoking booths within their premises to skirt the ban. From Jan. 1, 2014 they will be treated as all other businesses.

How will customers know about the restrictions on premises?

All premises over 150 sq.m. must clearly display stickers to inform customers that smoking is not allowed on the premises.

What is the punishment for smokers?

If smokers are found smoking in non-smoking areas they can expect a fine of 100 thousand won. Government officials said that as of July 5, only one smoker had received an on-the-spot fine.

What is the punishment for business owners?

First offence for businesses allowing smoking on premises results in a 1.7 million won fine. This rises to 3.3 million the second time and then 5 million won for the third offence.

How will it be enforced?

Local officials will conduct routine patrols to target businesses and ensure compliance.


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