New research on the global reach of the tobacco supply chain


For the first time ever, a new paper from the Tobacco Control Research Group maps the global reach of the supply chain of major global cigarette brands, from farm to factory.

The research suggests that the presence of global tobacco and tobacco leaf companies’ growing and manufacturing subsidiaries, has a direct impact on the degree to which the industry interferes with countries’ public health policies.

Through analysis of the Tobacco Supply Chains Database with the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index and World Health Organization (WHO) MPOWER, the researchers found that countries had weaker tobacco control measures, in particular advertising bans, where a higher number of transnational tobacco and tobacco leaf companies (TTLCs) conducted tobacco farming.

In total, the study highlights 47 countries with TTLC subsidiaries carrying out agricultural activities (growing tobacco), 51 primary processing (processing tobacco leaves), and 74 secondary processing (manufacturing tobacco products).

The worldwide nature of their operations gives these companies significant political power. The researchers argue that such power provides TTLCs with a credible threat to leave a country if the government were to consider improving tobacco control.

Lead researcher, Dr Rosemary Hiscock:

“With this study we hope to draw attention to the trade-offs involved in hosting tobacco supply chain activities while also garnering support for governments and public health leaders, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These countries have been found to be especially vulnerable to tobacco industry interference due to a lack of resources.

“Understanding how and where tobacco industries operate can help to bolster public health measures. For example, we know that comprehensive advertising bans reduce smoking uptake and increase quitting; advertising bans have been described as a cost-effective best buy and a cornerstone of tobacco control policy – yet we know such measures are often opposed in countries where the industry is also dominant.”

Read the paper: 

R. Hiscock, H. Alaouie, BK. Matthes, J. Mehegan, MJ. Bloomfield, Hosting the Tobacco Industry Supply Chain and Political InterferenceNicotine & Tobacco Research, 2023;, ntad178, doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntad178

TobaccoTactics resource: Tobacco Supply Chain

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