Aspect Consulting

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Aspect Consulting is a Brussels and UK-based public relations company, specialising in "creating dialogue, changing views and influencing behaviour".[1]

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Aspect represents Fontem Ventures, a company specialising in vapour products, and subsidiary of tobacco company Imperial Tobacco (also known as Imperial Brands).

The company has worked for Fontem since 2014 when the latter launched its first e-cigarette on the UK market.[2]

Aspect’s 2015 entry on the European Union’s Lobbying Transparency Register does not disclose its relationship with Fontem, or its tobacco company parent.[3]

Marketing New E-cigarette

In 2015, Aspect helped Fontem Ventures launch its e-cigarette Jai on the French market.

Aspect managed the “online, traditional media, and trade communications activities”.[4]

Lobbying Politicians on E-cigarettes

In early 2017, amid a call from Fontem for a UK anti-smoking strategy that embraces e-cigarettes as a harm reduction tool,[5] Aspect contacted Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to discuss e-cigarettes.

In a email addressed to an MSP,[6] ASPECT claimed that “the availability of vaping products actually acts as a barrier to tobacco use.” Although ASPECT wrote that it acted on behalf of Fontem Ventures, it did not disclose that Fontem is a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco.

Arguments that potentially reduced risk products can act as a barrier to tobacco use, despite current lack of conclusive evidence, have been used by tobacco companies to lobby for more favourable marketing and tax regulations on tobacco and nicotine products, such as snus and e-cigarettes.[7]

For more information on what drives tobacco companies to invest in potentially reduced risk products, visit our pages on Cigarette Companies Investing in Snus and E-cigarettes.

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Links

TCRG Research

Notes

  1. Aspect website, About Aspect, undated, accessed January 2017
  2. Fontem Ventures, On EVP Advert, 11 November 2014, accessed January 2017
  3. Transparency Register, Aspect entry, last updated 29 June 2016, accessed January 2017
  4. Aspect Consulting, Successfully launching JAI in France – Fontem Ventures], 26 January 2015, accessed January 2017
  5. Fontem Ventures, E-cigarettes must be recognised in new UK tobacco control plan, 6 January 2017, accessed January 2017
  6. S. Millicheap, Email to MSP [confidential] dated 10 January 2017 16:19, subject: E-Cigarettes, accessed January 2017
  7. S. Peeters, A. Gilmore, Transnational tobacco company interests in smokeless tobacco in Europe: Analysis of internal industry documents and contemporary industry materials, PLoS Medicine, 2013,10(9):1001506