Centre for Policy Studies

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The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) is a U.K.-based free-market think tank which has been active since 1974, and has opposed tobacco control legislation.

CPS does not reveal its funding, but tobacco industry documents show that it has accepted multiple donations from the tobacco industry in the past.

Pro-Tobacco Activities

Letters to the Daily Telegraph and the Irish Times

In March 2011, Tim Knox, Acting Director, Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) was one of 11 signatories of a Letter to the Editor to the Daily Telegraph attacking the Government’s position on tobacco control and arguing against further restrictions.

In October 2013, Knox, as Director of the CPS, was one of 8 signatories of a letter to the editor of the Irish Times criticising the Irish government’s tobacco control policy, which it deemed a “failure”, and specifically arguing against the introduction of plain packaging.1 Other signatories to the Irish letter included Patrick Basham from the Democracy Institute, Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Simon Richards from The Freedom Association.

History of Tobacco Funding

Documents contained within the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library show that the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) has a history of being funded by British American Tobacco.
The documents show that in the mid-1970s the CPS received £1,000 a year from BAT in 1974/75 and 1975/76. 2

The documents suggest that these payments continued until at least the mid-1990s. The amount slowly increased, so by the late-1970s, the documents suggest it was £2,000 3 and a decade later it was £4,000. 4 By 1990, the amount was £5,000 5; an amount given for the next four years. 6 Although the CPS requested that BAT increase the amount to £6,000 a year, which was “still below the level of other companies of BAT’s size and distinction”. 7

The issue of whether to continue to pay as well as disclose the payment to the CPS obviously became perplexing for BAT. One document prepared for BAT Chairman Martin Broughton in 1994 said: “If we cease to disclose the contribution to the CPS in the Report and Accounts for 1994 (or any subsequent year if we are still making contributions), then there must be a risk of us receiving an enquiry as to whether we are continuing to support the CPS. It might look very odd if we then say that we are, since we would be challenged as to why we have made no disclosure. I think prudence probably dictates that we continue to disclose the payment for so long as we are making it.” 8

Does not Disclose Tobacco Industry Funding

In May 2012, when the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath asked the Centre for Policy Studies whether it was currently receiving tobacco industry funding, or had received funding in the past, it received no reply to its questions. 9

Open Democracy, an independent international media platform, gives CPS a low ranking for transparency.10

History of Working With the Tobacco Industry

Other tobacco industry documents reveal CPS worked with the tobacco industry on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). In the mid-1990s, Philip Morris identified the following UK based think tanks that could host an event or conference on “ETS Science/Junk Science”:

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Smoking and tobacco controls, Letter to the Editor, Irish Times, 14 October 2013, accessed July 2019
  2. BAT, Note for the Chairman’s Policy Committee, 11 September 1975, accessed July 2019
  3. P.J. Ricketts, Note to the Chairman’s Policy Committee, 20 June 1979, accessed July 2019
  4. I. M. Port, Note to Suzanne Fisher, Regarding the Centre for Policy Studies, 22 January 1992, accessed July 2019
  5. M. Broughton, Note for the Chairman’s Policy Committee, 30 May 1990, accessed July 2019
  6. BAT, BAT Board Meeting, 5 June 1990, accessed July 2019
  7. R. Halstead, Letter to Patrick Sheehy, 16 May 1990, accessed July 2019
  8. D. Wilson, Note to Mr. Broughton, 16th June 1994, accessed July 2019
  9. Tobacco Control Research Group, Email to CPS, 11 May 2012
  10. Open Democracy, Who Funds You?, website, undated, accessed December 2023
  11. Philip Morris, EU/ US Policy Groups, December 1994, accessed July 2019