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April 23rd, 2015:

The British American Tobacco smuggling scam goes international

The British American Tobacco smuggling scam

EWN reports from this morning note that a document has been submitted to Parliament claiming there is evidence that British American Tobacco (BAT) has been involved in what looks like cigarette smuggling. The claim comes from the former Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackey, where he says that evidence that he was made aware of shows that both BAT South Africa and BAT UK were working with current and former State Security officials in “…a range of illegal activities which had cost the fiscus hundreds of millions of rand…”:


Lackey resigned from Sars as part of the fallout from claims of a rogue spy unit within the organization. Executive Director at the National Council Against Smoking, Dr Yussuf Saloojee:

The claim is based on reasonably good international evidence which shows that there has been secret smuggling around the world. Why would they do this? To increase their profits. When prices of cigarettes go up, the response is that smokers stop smoking, so cigarettes are smuggled (away from formal market channels of distribution) so that smokers can buy lower priced cigarettes. Smuggling doesn’t cost cigarette companies any money at all. Sars needs to look at this very closely because there have been claims of relations between Sars employees and those of the BAT and beyond that, this is a national health issue.

The statement in response from the British American Tobacco South Africa


Measuring implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3

SEATCA Tobacco Industry Interference Index: a tool for measuring implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3



To measure the implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 at country level using a new Tobacco Industry Interference Index and to report initial results using this index in seven Southeast Asian countries.


Score sheet based on WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines sent to correspondents in seven Southeast Asian countries, using a scoring system designed with the help of tobacco control experts and validated through focused group discussions.


The seven countries ranked from the lowest level of interference to the highest are Brunei, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Countries that face high levels of unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry also face high levels of tobacco industry influence in policy development. Most governments do not allow any tobacco industry representatives on their delegation to sessions of the Conference of the Parties or its subsidiary bodies nor accept their sponsorship for delegates, but most governments still accept or endorse offers of assistance from the tobacco industry in implementing tobacco control policies. Most governments also receive tobacco industry contributions (monetary or in kind) or endorse industry corporate social responsibility activities. Governments do not have a procedure for disclosing interactions with the tobacco industry, but Lao PDR, Philippines and Thailand have instituted measures to prevent or reduce industry interference.


This Tobacco Industry Interference Index, based on the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines, is a useful advocacy tool for identifying both progress and gaps in national efforts at implementing WHO FCTC Article 5.3.

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