Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA)

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The Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA) is a US-based organisation which hosts discussions regarding nicotine and tobacco issues. Amongst other assets, TMA own and run the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) and the Tobacco Reporter magazine.


Founded in 1915, according to its website TMA is a US member-driven non-profit based in New Jersey which provides open forums and sources of information for its stakeholders to discuss and debate nicotine and tobacco issues.1 Through TMA’s conferences, webinars, website and publications it covers pressing issues concerning tobacco and nicotine in areas including:1

  • Legislation, Regulation, and Policy
  • News and Current Events
  • Companies, Brands and Trademarks
  • FDA, WHO, FCTC, TPD2, Tax Data, and Trade Information
  • Tobacco and Nicotine Research
  • Economics, Business, Finance, Agribusiness and Leaf Data
  • Original Analysis

Acquisition of SpecComm International

In January 2019, TMA announced it had acquired the North Carolina-based publisher and conference producer SpecComm International, Inc. and its assets.2 The assets include the GTNF Conference, TabExpo, Tobacco Reporter, Vapor Voice, Tobacco Farm Quarterly, Tobacconist, Pipes & Tobacco, and Cigars & Leisure magazines.34 Under the acquisition deal, TMA created a new division called The GTNF Trust which operates and manages the GTNF Conference, Tobacco Reporter Magazine and Vapor Voice Magazine.34

TMA Staff

When the SpecComm International acquisition was announced, TMA also announced staff leadership changes:34

  • Chris Greer – TMA CEO and President to oversee The GTNF Trust
  • Robert Crosby – TMA Vice President and Chief Financial Officer to oversee finances and administration for The GTNF Trust
  • Elise Rasmussen – TMA Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Executive Director of The GTNF Trust
  • Taco Tuinstra – TMA Vice President and Chief Content Officer and Tobacco Reporter Editor in Chief
  • Darryl Jayson – TMA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Mike MacDonald – TMA Director of Product and Circulation
  • Chris Moll – TMA Director of Information Services


TMA hosts annual meetings, conferences and webinars which are sponsored by transnational tobacco companies and attended by tobacco industry representatives. A list of TMA’s conferences and meetings are published on their website.5

2020 Annual Meeting

The annual meeting took place on 12 May 2020 with attendance from members of the tobacco industry:

  • Barbara Martellini – Vice President Corporate Affairs, Universal Leaf Tobacco
  • Christiane Bisanzio – Vice President Diversity and Inclusion, JTI
  • Donna Smith – Associate Fellow Regulatory Sciences, Altria Client Services
  • Gerry Roerty – Vice President and General Counsel & Secretary, Swedish Match North America
  • B. Simko – Vice President External Affairs, Philip Morris International
  • Kelly Cushman – Senior Vice President, ITG Brands
  • Michele Maron – Director Corporate Affairs and Communications, JTI USA

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW):

  • Alexandra Solomon – Senior Research Analyst for Ethics and Human Rights Gender Specialist (left FSFW in September 2020)
  • Ayda Yurekli – Principal Economist

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products:

  • Matt Holman – Director of Office of Science
  • Mitch Zeller – Director
  • Nathan Hurley – Ombudsman
  • Todd Cecil – Deputy Director, Office of Science

The 2020 annual meeting was sponsored by tobacco companies including ITG Brands, Swedish Match, Universal and Japan Tobacco International.

Tobacco Tactics Resources

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  1. abTobacco Merchants Association, TMA About Us, TMA website, undated, accessed September 2020
  2. Tobacco Reporter, TMA buys Tobacco Reporter, Tobacco Reporter website, 28 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  3. abcPR Newswire, TMA Announces Acquisition Of SpecComm International, Inc., PR Newswire website, 24 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  4. abcROI-NJ, TMA acquires SpecComm tobacco magazine assets, ROI-NJ website, 25 January 2019, accessed September 2020
  5. Tobacco Merchants Association, Conferences & Meetings, TMA website, undated, accessed September 2020