Tobacco is the only consumer product in the world which kills half of its users, more than eight million people per year . And yet, the tobacco industry continues to aggressively market both cigarettes and its new generation of e-cigarettes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged not only the death and disease caused by the industry, but their shameful history of lies, denial, and dirty tactics to keep people addicted and hook each new generation.
In their efforts to address this epidemic and protect health policies around the world from these vested interests, the WHO established the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which contains guidelines on the implementation and maintenance of strategies, plans and programs for tobacco control.
Australia is a signatory to the Convention which sets out its obligations. One of the most important sections is Article 5.3 which explicitly details who is responsible and how they should protect government policy from tobacco industry influence which continues to use various mechanisms of influence including: industry funded research; undermining public health organisations; mobilising support from the industry and those with shared aims; media relations; political lobbying, participation in regulatory review processes and litigation.
One of ACOSH’s top strategic priorities is to shine a light on the tobacco industry’s shady practices, and who they hide behind, and hold them accountable for their actions. This will better inform public debate and policy decisions on tobacco control.
- The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
- FCTC Article 5.3
- Australian Government guidance for public officials on Interacting with the Tobacco Industry
- Lobbyists in action (The Conversation)
- Proposals of electoral reforms relating to donations from tobacco companies (Facts and Issues 10A.7.3.3)
- Political donations in Australia (Facts and Issues 10A.7.3.1)
- Industry funded research ATHRA
- Smoke-Free World (Philip Morris International (PMI) sole funder of the Foundation STOP)
 Slattery, C., Zhou, S., George, A. & Liberman, J. 19.0 Background to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In Greenhalgh, EM, Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH editors. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2022.
The Tobacco Industry
The global Tobacco Industry is primarily made up of five companies that collectively control around 95% of the world’s cigarette market. In total, the tobacco industry produces more than 5,400 billion cigarettes a year. The biggest single market is China, with around 350 million smokers they account for more than 40% of the total global market.
The Big Four
Outside China, the ‘Big Four’ international tobacco companies that account for three quarters of the market are:
- Phillip Morris International (PMI)
- British American Tobacco (BAT)
- Japan Tobacco (JTI)
- Imperial Tobacco
Big Tobacco in Australia
Australia’s tobacco market is dominated by three major companies which are subsidiaries of three of the ‘Big Four’ international tobacco companies.
- British American Tobacco Australia
- Phillip Morris (Australia) Limited
- Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited