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Pagefield is a British public relations (PR) company that was set up in 2010 and has worked with several tobacco industry clients.

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Image 1: Screengrab of List of Clients on Pagefield’s website, including Philip Morris International (accessed February 2019)1

Working with British American Tobacco

In July 2020, The Guardian reported that Pagefield has a contract with British American Tobacco (BAT) to promote its newer nicotine and tobacco products in the UK. The PR firm sent press releases to local media critical of council stop-smoking services which initially did not mention that BAT was the client.2

Pagefield had also worked with BAT previously. Although BAT’s logo does not appear on Pagefield’s website, multiple entries of the PR firm on the PRCA lobbying register indicate that BAT was a client in 2017/18.34 In addition, Pagefield consultant Jack Crone, who according to his public LinkedIn profile joined the company in 2019,5 is listed on the Pagefield website as providing “media relations expertise across a range of clients including Starling, BAT and Zego”.6

“Helping Distrusted Companies Gain Acceptance”

Pagefield held a multi-year contract with Philip Morris International (PMI) (see Image 1), which started in 2014 when the company was commissioned by PMI “to help lay the groundwork for the launch of IQOS”, PMI’s new heated tobacco product.7 The contract had finished by 2020.2

In May 2017, Pagefield won the Gold SABRE Award (Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement) in the category Consumer Marketing New Product for “Launching IQOS and Helping the Tobacco Giant Quit Smoking”.8

Reflecting on his work for PMI, Pagefield’s CEO, Oliver Foster, wrote:7

“Working for a tobacco company is always a contentious decision for agencies like ours, especially when the role involves reputation management. Too many consultancies – if they take on that work – are only too happy to conceal the work they are doing. We did the opposite from day one of our three year partnership with Philip Morris’s Reduced Risk business. Up on our website went the Philip Morris logo. Three years later and as recently as last night, we won an international PR industry award for our work launching the groundbreaking IQOS – a reduced risk, heat-not-burn product which is 95% less harmful than standard cigarettes”.

Fosters’ claim that IQOS is 95% less harmful than cigarettes is not supported by independent evidence.910

“Lessons” from IQOS Campaign

Foster identified three key elements to the IQOS campaign that could be “applicable to other distrusted companies planning to launch a significant, transformative, new product or business”:7

  • “Developing a robust argument”. Foster says that it is key to have “a position which is designed to convey or convince, with evidence in support”.
  • “Purpose (or values) behind the transformation”. According to Foster, this was the first time PMI was prepared to commit to a smoke-free future, which “made for a more captivating story”.
  • “Power of transparency”. Foster says that they pushed Philip Morris to be as open as possible, and “what better way to do this than giving The Today programme full access to the story and Philip Morris’ headquarters and research and development centre in Switzerland”.


To ensure “a full-service offer of the highest quality” Pagefield partners with Scotland-based Halogen Communications.11

Halogen has previously helped PMI oppose Plain Packaging in the UK and, more recently, has lobbied on E-cigarettes.

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Pagefield, Our Clients, undated, accessed February 2019
  2. abM. Busby, Tobacco firm funded attack on council, The Guardian, 2 July 2020, accessed July 2020
  3. APPC, Register for 1st September 2017 – 30th November 2017, PRCA website, accessed February 2019
  4. APPC, Register for 1st December 2017 – 28th February 2018, PRCA website, accessed February 2019
  5. J. Crone, LinkedIn Profile,, undated, accessed February 2019
  6. Pagefield, Jack Crone Consultant, 2019, accessed February 2019
  7. abcO. Foster, Helping distrusted companies gain acceptance, Pagefield website, 2017, accessed February 2019
  8. 2017 SABRE Awards EMEA Winners, The Holmes Report, undated, accessed February 2019
  9. World Health Organization, Heated Tobacco Products (HTPS) Information Sheet, May 2018, accessed February 2019
  10. Heated Tobacco Products, Tobacco Control, Volume 27, Supplementary Issue 1, November 2018
  11. Pagefield, Our Company Partners, undated, accessed February 2019