Japan Tobacco International

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Japan Tobacco International (JTI) is a transnational tobacco company (TTC), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.1 Its parent company is Japan Tobacco Group, referred to here as Japan Tobacco (JT), 33% of which is owned by the Japanese Government. In 2022, JT stated that it had created “one operating model by combining Japanese-domestic and International tobacco business”.2


JTI was formed in 1999 when JT when JT acquired the non-US operations of RJ Reynolds (RJR). In 2007, JTI bought another major tobacco manufacturer, Gallaher.3

Major divisions & subsidiaries

By acquiring the non-US operations of RJR, JT aimed to strengthen its tobacco business through expansion into the international market.24

In the early 2000s it acquired tobacco companies in Russia and Austria.2 This acquisition of Gallaher increased the company’s presence  in the UK and other European  markets34 JT has since  acquired tobacco companies in multiple low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) including Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.245In 2012 JT bought rolling (roll-your-own) tobacco company Gryson NV,5 and in 2016 it acquired the ‘Natural American Spirit’ cigarette business outside the US.24 In 2018 it acquired the Russian JSC Donskoy Tabak Company.2

JTI’s corporate structure is illustrated in this report.6


The page Tobacco Industry Product Terminology lists product types and the terms used on TobaccoTactics.

Conventional tobacco products

Key brands

JTI produces cigarettes, rolling tobacco, e-cigarettes, snus and cigars.7

JTI has over a hundred brands. Its four global ‘flagship brands’ are listed as Winston, Mevius (previously called Mild Seven), Camel and LD. Other brands which are key to specific or regional markets include Glamour, Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, and American Spirit. Key roll-your-own brands include Amber Leaf and Old Holborn.7 It also owns the Hamlet cigar brand, LD snus and the Egyptian waterpipe tobacco company Al Kakhla.58

More information can be found on the JTI corporate website.

Production and key markets

map below (figure 1) shows the countries in which JTI operates. The Tobacco Supply Chain database shows that JTI is directly involved in tobacco leaf agriculture and processing in 15 countries, manufactures its products in 30 countries, and has distribution operations in 51 countries.

A map showing the countries where Japan Tobacco/Japan Tobacco International has subsidiaries

Figure 1: The countries where Japan Tobacco/Japan Tobacco International has subsidiaries. (Source: Tobacco Control Research Group, University of Bath)

According to Euromonitor International, in 2023 Japan Tobacco/JTI had a share of around 18% share of the global cigarette market (by retail volume, figure rounded).9

Asia Pacific is by far the largest regional market for cigarettes, making up over one third of the total global market excluding China (regions as defined by Euromonitor). JTI sells around one third of its cigarettes in this region. Most of the rest of its cigarette sales are in the Middle East and Africa region, in Eastern Europe, and in Western Europe, each accounting for between 20 and 25%.9

Research published in 2023, showed that in 2020 JTI had the highest cigarette market share in 8 of the markets in which it operated (out of 90 for which data was available).10

For more information on global and regional market shares of the ‘Big 4’ transnational companies, see Tobacco Companies.
See the Tobacco Supply Chain database for country specific information.

Newer nicotine and tobacco products

As the harms from smoking conventional tobacco products have become better understood, and tobacco control measures have been put in place, the cigarette market – from which tobacco companies make most of their profits has started to shrink. To secure the industry’s longer-term future, TTCs have invested in, developed and marketed newer nicotine and tobacco products.11

Key JTI brands include:

For an overview see Newer Nicotine & Tobacco Products: Japan Tobacco International

JTI refers to these as “Reduced Risk Products” (RRPs)8

Market Strategy

The (vast) majority of JT/JTI’s revenue – around 97% in 2023 – comes from the sale of cigarettes and other conventional combustible tobacco products:1213

We recognize the combustibles industry volume will continue to decline. However, combustibles users will remain the largest cohort of consumers within the industry for at least another decade.”13

Its 2022 annual report emphasises the importance of its combustible brands to its business:

Consistently investing in the strengthening of the equity of Winston, Camel, MEVIUS and LD is key to sustaining the JT Group’s market share gains in the combustibles category and leveraging pricing opportunities.13

Similarly to other TTCs, JT has said that it needs to continue to sell cigarettes to give its customers a “choice” and to enable it to invest in newer products1314

The JT Group intends to continue satisfying the needs of these consumers, by exceeding their expectations. To do so, resources will be allocated in priority towards our GFB (Global Flagship Brands), with the intent of maximizing returns and supporting the investments in RRP.”13

JTIs RJR and Gallaher acquisitions gave it access to large cigarette markets in Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, and Russia, although it has since lost market share to other TTCs, mainly in Eastern Europe.4 JTI has also expanded in the Middle Eastern, African and Latin American regions, which are all key areas for future growth in tobacco use.2415

JTI is the only TTC to own a waterpipe tobacco company, which it acquired in 2012. This acquisition was described as a means to strengthen the cigarette market and not to expand waterpipe sales16

  • JTI’s annual reports, presentations and information for investors can be found on the Japan Tobacco corporate website.


Tobacco industry interference is widely understood to be the greatest barrier to progress in reducing the deadly health impact of tobacco.17 Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), obliges countries to protect their health policies from the “vested interests of the tobacco industry”.

TCRG has identified a range of tactics used by tobacco companies to interfere with and undermine tobacco control, in order to further their commercial goals.1819

Tactics used by JTI include:

Undermining national or international laws

As Japan is a Party to the WHO FCTC, state ownership of JT, and the huge revenues generated by the company, has the potential to influence government policy. This contradicts Article 5.3 of the treaty which mandates Parties to protect their public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.20

There have been a number of reported cases that suggest that JTI has violated the FCTC and national tobacco laws:

  • Bangladesh: In 2018, JTI was accused of violating the law by distributing free, JTI-branded merchandise including cigarettes, T-shirts and mobile phones at points of sale.21
    In March 2024, representatives from JTI ( along other industry including British American Tobaco, BAT) attended a pre-budget meeting of Bangladesh National Board of Revenue. During the meeting the national revenue budget for the fiscal year 2024-2025 was formulated.22 Japanese government representatives have also lobbied for the interests of JTI in Bangladesh.
  • Singapore: In 2020 JTI was fined SG$15,000 (over US$10,000) by the government for distributing cigarettes at a music festival without a license.23
  • Myanmar: A United Nations (UN) report released in 2019, linked JTI to companies that risk contributing to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The report listed Japan Tobacco in Myanmar as one of the companies in a joint venture with the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), one of the two major companies operated by the Burmese military, which was found to have used its own businesses, foreign companies and arms deals to support operations against the Muslim minority ethnic Rohingya.2425 JTI responded to the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in a letter stating that: “it is incorrect to state that Japan Tobacco in Myanmar has a joint venture with MEC”.26 Subsequently minor corrections were made to the report, which stated that : “None of the information received requires the Mission to change or alter any of the main findings or recommendations of its report”.27

JTI has also funded research, publications and campaigns which undermine legislation:

  • JTI has paid EU€10,000 to commission a special edition of Euractiv entitled “Regulating Consumers?”.28 More on how the tobacco industry supports self-regulation in favour of formal intervention can be found on our page on EU Better Regulation.
  • In addition to commissioning numerous consultancies to lobby against graphic health warnings and plain packaging, in 2018 JTI started a global campaign against plain packaging called “The Future of Brands”. The company stated that it was raising awareness of excessive regulation, and invited other industries (including food and alcohol) to join.29
  • In 2019, JTI used a study on illicit trade in Malaysia to support its position against a tax increase on its products. Although this study was funded by JTI, the company did not disclose this information to the government.30
  • In 2020, JTI developed new product variants to replace menthol cigarettes as a way to circumvent the EU ban on menthol and other ‘characterising flavours’. These included menthol flavoured cigarillos and cigarettes containing “distinctive blends” of tobacco promoted under the slogan “menthol reimagined”.31 See Menthol Cigarettes: Industry Interference in the EU and UK.
  • In July 2023 the Malaysian Women’s Action for Tobacco Control and Health (MyWatch) attributed the removal of nicotine from Poisons Act 1952 to interference by the tobacco industry and its front groups.32 In 2019, JTI said that it had  applied for a license to sell e-cigarettes, but had been unsuccessful, and that: “If government was serious on offering consumers an alternative to smoking, amendments must be made to the Poison Act 1952 to allow Malaysians to access to products which adhere to control and standards.”33

The website Tobacco Control Laws publishes detailed and up to date information about regulation at country level.34
For countries that are parties to the WHO FCTC,  progress is detailed in the FCTC implementation database.

Legal threats and actions

Like other TTCs, JTI uses litigation as a tool to challenge public health interventions. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids compiles examples on its Tobacco Control Laws website,35

  • Australia, 2012: JTI, British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI), and Imperial Tobacco (now Imperial Brands), brought legal challenges against Australia’s plain packaging regulation. See Australia: Challenging Legislation for more details. The High Court in Australia ruled in same year that plain packaging law was constitutionally valid
  • Thailand, 2014: JTI challenged a proposed increase of graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging to 85% of the package surface. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favour of the implementation of the intervention.
  • Ireland, 2015: JTI threatened Irish Ministers with legal action if they failed to promise that no further steps will be taken to enact the draft plain packaging law. The government went forward and implemented plain packaging.
  • France, 2016: JTI, BAT, and PMI brought six legal challenges against France’s plain packaging regulations; all six challenges were later dismissed by the French high court.

JTI uses other legal mechanisms to further its interests. For example, in 2023 JTI filed a complaint to the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) against Eastern Company (Egypt’s largest cigarette producer and former state-owned enterprise  Company) stating that Eastern was monopolising the Egyptian market.3637 JTI has been trying to shift the production of its cheap brand, Gold Cost, from Turkey to Egypt following a tax amendment banning the import of low-priced cigarettes, but could not reach an agreement with Eastern, preventing JTI from selling its cheap brand in Egypt.36


A 2011 report by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), pointed to the intimidation of JTI’s own employees, during an investigation into accusations of smuggling within the company. Evidence showed that JTI’s Vice President had sent an email to employees instructing them not to engage with investigators and ordered senior management to document all employee contacts.  This was contrary to the terms of JTI’s 2007 contract with the European Commission which specified that employees wishing to report concerns  need to be granted anonymity.38 For more on the accusations see Involvement in illicit tobacco trade below.

See also TCRG research on the intimidation of tobacco control advocates and researchers.39

Lobbying and influencing policy

JTI states that it “actively seeks dialogue with governmental authorities around the world” regarding the regulation of its products and that it “reserves its right to question, and if necessary challenge, regulation that is flawed, unreasonable, disproportionate, or without an evidentiary foundation, in order to protect its legitimate business interests.”7


JTI, similar to all major tobacco companies, uses political spending to lobby governments to serve its business goals. CTFK calculated that in 2022 tobacco companies spent around US$1.1 million  on the election cycle of federal candidates  and US$45.9 million  on lobbying Congress.40 In 2023 the company spent €2-2.25 million on lobbying in the EU.41

In the UK:

  • JTI lobbied eight Members of the Scottish Parliament between October 2018 and December 2021, including at garden parties and political awards events.42
  • In March 2024, MP Virendra Sharma wrote an article criticising the proposed Generational Endgame policy, in a post sponsored by JTI.43

JTI has also met with government representatives from LMICs.4445

Hospitality for politicians

In the UK JTI has been the most active tobacco company in offering politicians hospitality, with politicians accepting JTI-sponsored tickets to various events, including the Chelsea Flower Show, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Cricket Test Matches at the Oval, the Rugby World Cup, and a rock concert.

Claiming a public health role

Similarly to other TTCs, JTI describes its newer nicotine and tobacco products as “reduced risk products” alternatives to cigarettes.46 However, like other tobacco companies, research suggests that marketing newer products only to existing smokers is not likely to be a viable business model in the longer term, and JTI does not intend to stop selling cigarettes.47

While JTI argues that it should participate in the process of regulation,48 it continuously opposes public health policies to control tobacco use.49 For example, despite evidence to the contrary, JTI claims that “Extreme measures, such as plain packaging of tobacco products, display bans or other proposals based on the attractiveness of tobacco products, will not eliminate smoking by minors, or cause minors to stop smoking”.50

Attacking critics and public health

JTI has repeatedly criticised and undermined the work of the WHO, claiming that the decisions of the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are excessive and controversial tobacco control measures.50

In 2014, JTI offered its own, idiosyncratic, interpretation of Article 5.3. In his criticism of closed door meetings at the Sixth Conference of the Parties, the company’s vice-president for global regulatory strategy described the situation as an abuse of 5.3 ‘which is now commonly used as an excuse to shut out the tobacco sector and anyone who is perceived to be linked to us’ leaving the meetings to be ‘again hijacked by the tobacco control lobbyists who freely exercise undue influence’ (JTI, 2014).4

In 2017, SEATCA reported that JTI had sent a ‘mischievous’ statement to the WHO’s newly elected director general asking him “to scrutinise WHO’s practices of non-transparency” accusing the organisation of nurturing a “culture of censorship and exclusion”, as the session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) took place behind “closed doors”. JTI also accused the WHO of “bullying tobacco farmers and governments” and “dangerously jeopardizing many programmes”.51

Trying to influence policy making

JTI has used the third party tactic to help it lobby against policy.

In October 2023, it targeted a publication called  ‘The Generational Tobacco Ban: Explained’ at retailers, saying that the UK’s proposed generational ban was an “experimental policy not supported by evidence” and was a threat to retailers’ tobacco sales. JTI urged them to contact their MPs and respond to the consultation.4

The promotion of consumer ‘choice’

JTI  has states  that its purpose is to “creat[e] a better future for consumer choice”, and that it was  “transforming to provide a wider portfolio of quality products, including those with the potential to reduce the risks associated with smoking.”52 When talking about e-cigarettes, JTI’s Executive Vice President, Reduced-Risk Products said:

Timescales of acceptance of vaping products can vary hugely by region and country, reflecting a mix of social, cultural and economic considerations. We believe the role of innovators is to provide more options, not direct or dictate consumer choice14

Rather than help consumers to quit their nicotine addition, the company states that “JTI is committed to creating a better future in which our adult consumers everywhere can enhance their enjoyment of the products we make.”53

  • See the page on harm reduction for details of how tobacco companies use this concept as a tactic to further their commercial goals.

CSR relating to health

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported that Zambian farm workers risk their health for Japan Tobacco International.54 While the public health advice was for mandatory mask-wearing, children and women working in tobacco farms were left without enough masks or guidance on the proper way to wear them. STOP reported that JTI was “trying to paint itself as part of the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic with so-called corporate social responsibility acts that support other parts of its supply chain, like donations to support independent retailers in the UK. But it seems to have forgotten about the women and children who risk their health to fuel the company’s profits in the midst of a pandemic”5455

Like other tobacco companies, JTI gained PR advantage by providing support to governments during the pandemic. For example in Cambodia it donated banners with health messages and alcohol dispensers.56

Support through allies

Front groups, think tanks and lobby groups

Like other TTCs, JTI has long used the third party technique to achieve its goals.

In 2002, it was revealed that the writer and philosopher Roger Scruton, who wrote a pamphlet by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) attacking the World Health Organisation in 2000 for its campaign against tobacco, was on the payroll of JTI. In 2012, the Tobacco Control Research Group asked JTI about its funding of the think tanks active in the smoking and health debate in the UK. The company replied: “Please note that we do not wish to participate in your research”.57

See the lists of front groups, think tanks, lobby groups and other organisations linked to JTI in the Affiliations section below.
See also the list and map of tobacco industry allies on the STOP website.

Controversial marketing

Targeting Youth

On its website, JTI states that it does not market its products to minors,50 which it says is central to the way it does business:

“We also do not encourage anyone to take up smoking, and do not try to dissuade smokers from quitting. We market our products to adult smokers in order to maintain brand loyalty and to encourage adult smokers of competitor brands to switch to our products.”58

However JTI has been accused on targeting youth in its marketing activities around the world,59

  • A study reporting on the advertising and promotion of cigarettes at point of sale from 42 countries, from 2015 to 2021, found that JTI brands were sold and/ or promoted in 25 countries, the majority of which were LMICs.60
  • Tobacco companies, including JTI, use social media to promote tobacco and nicotine products. In 2021, JTI circumvented social media site rules and national laws in Germany to promote Winston.61
  • In 2023, JTI collaborated with the travel retailer Avolta to introduce a limited-edition Camel Animals. The collection featured five different colourful animal designs and was promoted in airports.62
  • JTI has forged partnerships with festivals to promote its Nordic Spirit nicotine pouches, including giving out free samples.6364 This echoes past practices where tobacco companies were allowed to promote cigarettes at festivals with young and potentially underage audiences.64

For more see Tobacco Industry Targeting Young People

Targeting women and girls

JTI contributed to a systematic campaign, run by major tobacco companies, to promote tobacco use among women. JTI brought out limited edition ‘V-shaped’ packs of Silk Cut in 2011, within the same period that British American Tobacco introduced Vogue Perle, and Philip Morris launched Virginia S by Raffles JTI took advantage of the growth in women  smoking, launching Glamour cigarettes in a number of countries.6566

In 2011, JTI has was accused of targeting mothers and schoolgirls at World Cup volleyball events.67  JTI sponsors the women’s and men’s teams in Japan’s national volleyball league, despite this breaching the FCTC ban on tobacco company sponsorship.68 JT stated that it is promoting its beverage division, not its cigarette products.68

Corporate Social Responsibility

Most of JTI CSR activities are conducted through the JTI Foundation.469JTI’s CSR activities include funding education programmes and scholarships, and activities relating to child labour, environment healthcare, and disaster relief, sometimes in partnership with governments. It has also linked activities to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).70

Similar to other tobacco companies, JTI uses “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) activities to gain the appearance of respectability. Such activities are prohibited by the WHO FCTC as they manipulate public opinion. In 2023, JTI declared that to date it has spent US$492 million on community investment programmes and has pledged US$600 million to be spent by 2030.71

CSR activities are often exaggerated for marketing purposes. For example, in 2012, JTI’s “Employment Project” was advertised as a major initiative in Spain by the company in response to the economic crisis. However, after 8 years the project had provided only 19 full-and 6 part-time jobs.72

In 2024, JTI Egypt, manufacturer of the Al Nakhla waterpipe product, hosted a visit from the Japanese Ambassador to Egypt.This allowed JTI to publicise a CSR project focused on the “economic empowerment” of women.73

  • For more information on how tobacco companies use CSR as a company strategy, see our page on CSR Strategy.


JTI funds education and training activities, including scholarship programmes for students and journalists:

  • The Japanese diplomatic service has supported JTI’s CSR activities in Africa. In Ethiopia, the Japanese Embassy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with JTI to offer scholarships to Ethiopian students wishing to study in Japan. The Ambassador to Tanzania participated in a ceremony to lay the foundation stone to a school funded by JTI.56
  • In 2000, JTI launched an annual scholarship program for journalists, administered by the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce, giving them opportunities to meet EU officials formally and informally.74

Child Labour

JTI states that “child labour is an unacceptable practice that has no place in our supply chain”.75 However, tobacco companies have been accused of complicity in child labour and their CSR programmes have received repeated criticism.

The company is a founding member of the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT),76 with representatives on the board.77

JTI also runs its own programme called ‘ARISE’, operating in Brazil, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh with the aim of “achieving reduction of child labour in support of” education47578

JTI stated:

“We know that to help make child labour a thing of the past, we have to work with our tobacco growers, their communities, governments and other partners to understand the root cause of the problem and provide long-term solutions.”75

JTI has said that light farming work is acceptable for children ages 13-15 years, where it does not affect their education or health.79 See also CSR: Education

Environment & greenwashing

ICSR activities relating to the environment are a way for companies to ‘greenwashtheir reputations. Those relating to waste generated by the tobacco industry itself may also be an attempt to avoid accountability and regulation.80 The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index for 2023 noted that “Government and public institution endorsements of industry-led cigarette butt litter cleanups were recorded in at least 15 countries”.56

JTI has engaged in clean-up campaigns to address littering, cleaning up in partnership with governments and environmental organisations, including in Brazil, Switzerland and Wales.5681

Tobacco companies have also supported tree planting programmes to distract from the harms of deforestation caused by excessive wood use during tobacco curing.82 For example, from 2007 to 2014, the Japan Tobacco Group partnered with NGO Total LandCare to fund reforestation programmes in Tanzania and Malawi.83 JT has also partnered with the governments of Jordan and Zambia on tree planting initiatives.56

Companies also divert attention on the biodiversity problems caused by using pesticides in tobacco cultivation, for reputational benefit. In 2021 JTI Switzerland donated a ‘wild bee paradise’ to the municipality of Dagmersellen.84

JTI Switzerland stated:

“[I]t is important for us to fulfil our responsibility towards society and the environment. With this project, we can make a contribution to the promotion of biodiversity virtually on our doorstep.”84

  • To read more about how the tobacco industry using donations to environmental programmes and charities to greenwash its business, visit our Greenwashing page.

Partnership with governments

Although prevented from engaging in public health dialogue by the WHO FCTC, JTI engages with national governments on other policy areas, including customs control and illicit tobacco trade.35 Some of its CSR activities relate specifically to these areas.

For example, JTI gifted four drones and other essential equipment to the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Economy, for use in combatting illegal tobacco cultivation. The donation was estimated to be RSD 1.2 million (US$ 1.1 million).85

  • See below for more on JTI’s involvement with illicit tobacco trade.

Disaster relief

Disaster relief efforts are part of JTI’s CSR strategy. After the February 2023 earthquake in Turkey, JTI Turkey made public announcements about their donations to support relief efforts. The contribution was welcomed by the Turkish government and the support was channelled through relief agencies they partnered with.56

Influencing Science

Like other TTCs, JTI conducts its own research and cites evidence skewed in its favour. The company presents its research on its “Reduced-Risk Products” on its own science website.

Involvement in illicit tobacco trade

JTI, portrays itself as a victim of illicit tobacco trade and uses this as a pretext to fight tobacco control public health policies.

JTI engages in and monitors policies on anti-illicit trade; runs campaigns; funds organisations to put forward its arguments; and encourages retailers to lobby on its behalf. It also funds studies into illicit trade in order to undermine public health policy. For example JTI funded Retailers Against Smuggling, an Irish organization that organises retailers’ efforts to prevent illicit trade in the country and contracted, alongside other tobacco companies, KPMG studies on illicit cigarettes consumed in the EU.

It argues that “excessive” tobacco regulation creates environments in which the black market thrives, and that higher taxes and plain packaging are a “gift” to counterfeiters, while promoting cheaper alternative products for consumers to buy.86 It states that regulations should formulated in a way that it is hard for criminals to sell their products and at the same time encourage consumers to buy licit tobacco products from legitimate vendors.86 JTI claim that their forensic analysis reveals that illicit cigarettes are ‘dangerous contaminated products’.86

In 2023, JTI submitted a Freedom of Information request to local councils in the UK, asking about their activities relating to illicit trade. JTI used this information to try to undermine the UK’s proposed smoke free generations (or ‘endgame’) policy.87 JTI’s communication director stated “Illegal tobacco is already a significant issue, and the generational ban has the potential to worsen this, by driving adult smokers to buy cigarettes from organised gangs.”87

However, like other companies, JTI has been found to be complicit in illicit trade. In 2011, the OCCRP published an investigation into JTI Involvement in Smuggling which uncovered documents from JTI indicating that millions of cigarettes might have been illegally shipped by distributors from Russia, the Middle East, and the Balkans.88

Despite the WHO FCTC and its Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products preventing Parties from engaging with the tobacco industry JTI has signed voluntary memoranda of understanding with governments on illicit trade, and trained law enforcement and customs officers around the world:86

  • In March 2022, JTI and BAT signed an agreement with Poland’s General Police Headquarters to combat illegal production and trade in tobacco products.56
  • In August 2023, JTI conducted a training session on illicit trade in Lebanon in coordination with the Lebanese state-owned tobacco industry anti-smuggling unit.89

JTI also sponsors and attends international conferences and events on illicit trade:9091

  • In 2023, JTI supported the eighth Global Anti-Illicit Trade Summit. The aim of the summit was to bring together policy makers, law enforcement, representatives of corporations and illicit trade experts to discuss potential collaboration, including on stopping ‘transnational crime’ at borders.92
  • At the 2023 Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) JTI said “[b]illions of dollars in revenue are lost to this criminal activity,” and called for collaboration to curb criminal by ‘shift the narrative’ about illicit trade.9091

JTI also points to its “open proactive relationship” with international bodies working on illicit trade including the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF,  Europol and the UK’s revenue and customs department HMRC.86

Tax avoidance

TCRG research published in March 2020 found that “Very little profit based taxation has been paid in the UK [by tobacco companies] despite high levels of reported profits, both in the domestic market and globally.”93 After several years of restructuring, JTI was able to reduce its tax liabilities in the UK, paying much less that the amount due, although its tax payments did increase again later.93

Analysis of company reports between 2010 and 2019, found that JTI (and the other main TTCs, PMI, BAT and Imperial) use several methods to avoid or lower their tax bills.94 JTI used subsidiaries in the Netherlands to channel money back to its parent company in Japan:94

  • Shifting dividends – for example, each year around €1-3 billion of dividends passed through JT International Holding BV in the Netherlands, in part from UK subsidiaries
  • Group relief – Gallaher Overseas (Holdings) Limited, Gallaher Group Limited, and JTI (UK) Management received approximately £2 million in group relief each year.
  • Internal financing – JTI transferred €16-59 million a year in interest over loans granted by its Dutch holding company.
  • Royalty payments – JTI Group Holding BV shifted around €250 million per year, through the Netherlands as royalties, between 2010 and 2013.

While seen as morally wrong by many, or at least socially undesirable, tax avoidance is not illegal; it is sometimes referred to as ‘tax planning’, whereas tax evasion is a crime. However, JTI’s activities do not even appear to be in the spirit of its own code of business conduct. In its 2020 UK tax strategy document, JTI promised ‘not [to] undertake transactions whose sole purpose is to create an abusive tax result.94 In 2023 it stated that it would not “undertake tax planning for tax avoidance reasons or without commercial justification”.95

JTI has been involved in tax disputes in multiple countries including Turkey, Russia and the UK.94

Non-nicotine subsidiaries & investments

Key employees and board members

The company’s executive committee has 22 members. Eddy Pirard, a Belgian national, was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017.97


Nobuya Kato | Roland Kostantos | Vassilis Vovos | Daniel Torras | Takehiko Tsutsui | Bilgehan Anlas | Yves Barbier | Stefan Fitz | Hiroyuki Miki | John Fraser | Tom Greene | Rob Stanworth | Phil Livingston | Daniel Sciamma | Guergana Andreeva | Akhil Bhardwaj | James Boxford | Junichi Fukuchi | Toru Hijikata | Natasa Milosevic | Lucine Ovumyan | Idil Yasa


Pierre de Labouchere | Thomas McCoy | Martin Braddock | Paul Neumann | Fadoul Pekhazis | Michel Poirier | Bill Schulz | Takehisa Shibayama | Mutsuo Iwai | Paul Bourassa | Jörg Schappei | Frits Vranken | Wade Wright | Jorge da Motta | Andrew Newton | Kevin Tomlinson | Koji Shimayoshi | Howard Parks | Antoine Ernst | Marchant Kuys

A full list of current employees and board members can be found on the JTI website.


JTI is a member of various national and international organisations and networks. It also works with think tanks and other lobbying organisations and employs a wide range of consultants.


JTI is or has been a member of the following organisations:9899100

The European House – Ambrosetti98100 | American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong | American European Community Association (AECA) | Associate Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group | British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium | Business Europe | Center for European Policy Studies9899 | Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers | Consumer Choice Centre | Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco (CORESTA)| Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT) | EPICENTRE | EURACTIV98100 | European Smokeless Tobacco Council | European Smoking Tobacco Association | European Cigar Manufacturers Association | EUROPEN98 | Institute of Business Ethics | Japan Business Council in Europe98 | Forest EU | Kangaroo Group | Public Affairs Council98100Tobacco Europe (previously CECCM) | Tobacco and Nicotine Products Chemicals Group (previously Tobacco Industry Platform)101 | Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (through its subsidiary Gallaher)

Other funded organisations

JTI has also provided financial support, directly or indirectly, to:102103
Adam Smith Institute | Americans for Tax Reform (See Think Tanks) | Atlas Network | Austrian Economics Center102 | Cato Institute (See Think Tanks) | Center for Liberal Democratic Studies (Serbia)102 | Center for Social and Economic Research (Ukraine)102 | Consumer Choice Center | Digital Coding & Tracking Association | Ekonomichna Pravda (Ukraine)102 | EPICENTRE (EU) | Forest EU | Hibernia Forum102 | International Chamber of Commerce | Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) | Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia, see Think Tanks page)104 | International Trademark Association | Japan’s Smoking Research Foundation (JSRF)105 | Kangaroo Group (EU) | Retailers Against Smuggling (Republic of Ireland) | Tax Payers’ Alliance (UK)| Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation

  • See also the STOP database and map of industry allies, available on exposetobacco.org


JTI is known to have used the following companies and consultancies for public relations, lobbying, marketing, research or other consultancy services:98106107108

Alvarez & Marsal109110 | Europe Economics | CanvasU111 | FTI Consulting106 | Keegan & Company LLC112113114 | MAPP115 | Tobacco and Nicotine Products Chemicals Group (TNPC, previously Tobacco Industry Platform)

Relevant Link[s]

TobaccoTactics Resources

TCRG Research

For a comprehensive list of all publications by the Tobacco Control Research Group, including research that evaluates the impact of public health policy, go to Bath TCRG’s list of publications.

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