Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum

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The Global Tobacco Nicotine Forum (GTNF) is a tobacco-industry funded event, which was formerly known as the Global Tobacco Networking Forum.1

The annual event was rebranded in 2015, to “reflect our industry’s expanding perspectives”.2

The GTNF should not be confused with the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN).


Originally the Global Tobacco Networking Forum

The Global Tobacco Networking Forum was first held in 2008 in Rio de Janeiro, and was organized by Tobacco Reporter magazine, which billed the event as “quite simply the greatest interactive tobacco industry idea exchange on earth”.3

David O’Reilly from British American Tobacco was the co-founder and first Chair of the GTNF advisory board.4

Owners and Organisers

In January 2019, SpecComm International and its assets which included the GTNF were acquired by the US-based organisation Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA).5 Under the acquisition deal, TMA created a new division called The GTNF Trust which operates and manages the GTNF Conference.678

Code of Conduct

Originally, the GTNF had a code of conduct which contained clauses forbidding discussions or presentations being recorded, or information about the content of sessions being published. The code of conduct said:3

  • Absolutely no part of any forum, panel discussion or workshop should be audio- or video-taped or reproduced, in whole or in part, in any document, documentary or record of any GTNF-related event, whether for personal or professional use.
  • Written note-taking should be limited to basic ideas and points, and no ideas, concepts or direct quote should be attributed, either directly or indirectly, to any specific participant or observer.
  • No material should be published, in whole or in part, based on any sessions or discussions held during the GTNF (although any papers, publications or books already in the public domain or handed out during the event may be republished with prior permission of the author and in accordance with all international laws of copyright).
  • No GTNF participants should be quoted or paraphrased outside of the GTNF.
  • No unofficial photographs should be taken of anyone participating in, or any presentations made within, any GTNF event.
  • If a participant wants to pursue any details or concepts arising from any of the sessions, they are invited to take advantage of appropriate opportunities to introduce themselves and speak with fellow delegates during breaks or meals.
  • Tobacco Reporter reserves the right to deny access to GTNF 2012 to anyone not prepared to adhere to these rules of engagement, or to anyone deemed by Tobacco Reporter to be in violation of these rules at any time without explanation or prior warning.

In 2015, the Code of Conduct was replaced by Chatham House Rules, which stated that participants were free to use the information received but that “neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any participant, may be revealed”.9

Funded by Delegate Fees and Tobacco Companies

To attend, delegates pay conference fees, which in 2022 amounted to US$ 4,500,which included accommodation, entry to GTNF plenaries and sessions, networking breakfasts, and welcome and networking receptions. Alternatively, delegates could pay fees of US$399 to attend virtually.10 Delegates must be a representative of the tobacco or e-cigarette/nicotine industry, or be a related stakeholder.10

Since its beginning in 2008, the event has also been sponsored by big tobacco companies. In 2023, sponsors listed on GTNFs website included Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Altria and Reynolds American (RAI).11


For a comprehensive list of GTNF speakers, go to the specific pages of each annual GTNF events (below under TobaccoTactics Resources).

A selection of speakers:
Patrick Basham Erik Bloomquist Simon Clark Sinclair Davidson Jamie Dettmer Katherine Graham Angela Harbutt Delon Human Mark Littlewood John Luik Des Naughton Paul Neumann Christopher Ogden David O’Reilly Riccardo Polosa Carl V Phillips Michiel Reerink Brad Rodu Christopher Snowdon Spiked Jeff Stier Kingsley Wheaton

At the 2017 GTNF, Derek Yach, former Head of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative, launched a new foundation funded by Philip Morris International and aimed at “accelerating an end to smoking”. To read more about this organisation, go to the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

IN FOCUS events

In 2021, the GTNF Trust launched its ‘IN FOCUS’ event series which runs separately from the main GTNF event. The online half-day conference takes place every spring.12

In 2021 and 2023, the events had a theme of ‘Tobacco Harm Reduction’.13

In 2023, organisers gave the upcoming COP10 – the two-yearly meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – as a reason for choosing this theme. The website stated that the 2023 IN FOCUS event “brought together thought leaders and commentators from across the world to give us their views and debate the way ahead”.12

Keynote speakers included:

See Harm Reduction for more on how the industry uses this concept to further its commercial goals and undermine public health.

In 2022, the theme was ‘Sustainability’.14

See the long read Unsustainable: Big Tobacco’s use of the UN SDGs and Greenwashing.

TobaccoTactics Resources


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  1. S. Clark, Voices of Freedom 2017: Elise Rasmussen, Taking Liberties blog, 30 June 2017 8:02, accessed October 2017
  2. Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, GTNF 2015: Welcome to Bologna: the city where ideas and information meet, 2015, accessed October 2017
  3. abT. Tuinstra. Happy networking. Tobacco Reporter magazine, October 2008, accessed November 2011
  4. Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum, GTNF 2017 Advisory Board, undated, accessed September 2017
  5. Tobacco Reporter, TMA buys Tobacco Reporter, Tobacco Reporter website, 28 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  6. PR Newswire, TMA Announces Acquisition Of SpecComm International, Inc.,PR Newswire website, 24 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  7. ROI-NJ, TMA acquires SpecComm tobacco magazine assets, ROI-NJ website, 25 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  8. Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum, What is the GTNF?, GTNF website, undated, accessed September 2020
  9. GTNF2015, Registration, 2015, accessed October 2017
  10. abGTNF 2022, Registration, 2022, accessed June 2023
  11. GTNF, GTNF Sponsors, website, undated, accessed June 2023
  12. abcIN FOCUS: THR, 2023, website, archived March 2023, accessed June 2023
  13. In Focus: Tobacco Harm Reduction, 2021, website, archived March 2021, accessed June 2023
  14. In Focus: Sustainability, 2022, website, archived April 2022, accessed June 2023