Carrick Graham

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Carrick Graham used to work for British American Tobacco (BAT) in New Zealand from 1996 until 2006.[1]

Since leaving BAT he has run several Public Relations (PR) consultancies, including Facilitate Communications (2006-2016) and Graham, Brewer, Simich and Associates (dissolved in September 2016[2]).

From August 2016 he was founder and Managing Director of GMS Management Ltd.[3]

Career with British American Tobacco

Graham joined W.D. and H.O. Wills, a BAT company, in 1996 as a sales representative.[1] In 2001 Graham became BAT’s Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs.[3] He regularly spoke out against anti-smoking groups, or "zealots" as he labelled them, and opposed legislation aimed at reducing smoking. He once called such efforts an "extreme case of nanny state and social engineering".[4]

Graham left BAT in 2006 to start his own consultancy.[1]

Flooding Health Officials with Freedom of Information Requests

The New Zealand Sunday Star Times reported in September 2009, that Graham, after leaving BAT, had “showered” the New Zealand Ministry of Health with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests relating to health NGOs.[5]

A 2010 study by Wong et al published in Tobacco Control, documented that 84% of FOI requests lodged with the New Zealand Ministry of Health between 2005 and 2009 had originated from the tobacco industry, including Graham’s PR company.[6] The paper did not disclose the exact number of FOI requests submitted by Graham, but documented that ten “industry-related sources” had requested information relating to tobacco control expenditure.

In the article in the Sunday Star Times, Graham denied he had been paid by the tobacco industry to lodge the FOI requests.[5] Instead he claimed that he had acted out of his personal interest to keep the government to account for its spending on tobacco control.[5] “There is an official gravy train, he [Graham] says, where the government will spend $55 million through 115 groups on tobacco education and control. Yet despite spending ‘millions and millions’ of dollars every year, there was little to show for it.”[5]

Wong and co-authors argued that the nature and timing of the industry-related FOI requests, including those made by Graham, were aimed at disrupting New Zealand tobacco control policy, and a clear abuse of “legal avenues designed to protect the public’s right to access to official information”.[6]

The tobacco industry has used FOI on a number of occasions in Australia, the US and the UK to impede tobacco control progress. For more information see our page on Freedom of Information Requests.

Anti-Regulation Blogging on Tobacco and Food

Graham has been a guest blogger on kiwiblog.co.nz since August 2015.[7] In March 2017 he posted a blog discrediting the New Zealand government’s tobacco policy.[8] Graham claimed that recent increases in tobacco tax were wreaking “havoc” on small retailers and leading to an increase in illicit tobacco trade. He further criticised the government’s stance on e-cigarettes, arguing that there was an unprecedented support for tobacco harm reduction, which was “an opportunity that should not be lost”.[8] A year earlier, Graham had also criticized the government’s opposition to e-cigarettes.[9]

Tobacco hasn’t been the only public health subject Graham blogged about. In March 2016, Graham criticised the British sugar tax, claiming that “No sugar tax will stop people consuming can of Coca-Cola if that’s what they want”.[10]

In 2015, Graham criticised the amount of money spent on fighting obesity, labelling researchers working in this field and in receipt of public funds “groups that do little aside from talk to themselves at conference for which they’ve utilised public money to organise, and naturally attend”.

TobaccoTactics Resources

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 P. Newport, Carrick Graham:Without Apologies, Metro, 18 June 2015, accessed October 2107
  2. OpenCorporates: Graham Brewer Simich Associates Limited, last updated 7 June 2017, accessed October 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 C. Graham, Linkedin profile, undated, accessed October 2017
  4. K. Powley, Spin doctor goes from tobacco to Hotchin, New Zealand Herald, 20 February 2011, accessed October 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 A. Hubbard, A burning issue, www.stuff.co.nz, 13 September 2009, accessed October 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 G. Wong, B. Youdan, R. Wong, Misuse of the Official Information Act by the tobacco industry in New Zealand, Tobacco Control 2010:19:346-347
  7. Kiwiblog: Carrick Graham Posts, undated, accessed October 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 C. Graham, Guest Post: Time for a Re-Think on Tobacco, Kiwiblog, 10 March 2017, accessed October 2017
  9. C. Graham, Guest post: New Zealand’s Great Tobacco Debate Now in Quandary, Kiwiblog, 11 March 2016, October 2017
  10. C. Graham, Guest Post: Sugar Taxes in New Zealand Inevitable, Kiwiblog, 22 March 2016, accessed October 2017