Globally Reported Tobacco Industry Interference during COVID-19 Pandemic – January 2022

From TobaccoUnmasked

Globally Reported Tobacco Industry Interference during COVID-19 Pandemic – January 2022 This is a continuation of our page on Globally Reported Tobacco Industry Interference during COVID-19 Pandemic and summarises the incidents reported during the month of January 2022. This page will be continuously updated as and when incidents related to the respective month are reported.

The Summary of Interference Reported as of 31st January2022

Table 1 summarises the incidents reported since 13th March 2020, the date of initiation of the first lockdown in Sri Lanka, the day we started monitoring Globally Reported Tobacco Industry Interference during COVID-19 Pandemic.

Table 1: Summary of reported TII during COVID-19 Pandemic

Tobacco Company Reported Countries Number of Incidents
British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa, United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, Croatia, Mexico, Nigeria, Honduras, Russia, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Greece, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Egypt, New Zealand, Philippines, Belarus, Belgium, Australia, Iran, Romania, Namibia, Pakistan, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, France, Japan, Myanmar, Singapore, Malta, Indonesia 221
Philip Morris International (PMI) Brazil, Costa Rica, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Philippines, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia, Canada, Burkina Faso, Denmark, Pennsylvania, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Japan, Astypalea, La Graciosa, United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Romania, Dubai, Australia, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean, Jordan 126
Altria group United Sates of America (USA), Canada, Switzerland 77
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) United Kingdom (UK), Bangladesh, Turkey, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Zambia, Japan, Romania, Germany, Cambodia, Greece, Iran, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, United State of America (USA), 81
Imperial Tobacco Russia, Egypt, Ukraine, Greece, Czech Republic, United States 33
ITC Limited India India 79
Korea Tobacco Ginseng Corporation (KT&G) Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, Romania, Cyprus, Greece 9
Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) Sri Lanka 13
Reynolds American United Sates of America (USA) 7
Universal Cooperation United Sates of America (USA) 2
VMR Products United Sates of America (USA) 2
RJ Reynolds Tobacco United Sates of America (USA) 5
Godfrey Phillips India India 5
DJarum Indonesia 2
PT HM Sampoerna Indonesia 1
Hongyunhonghe Tobacco (Group) - 2
7 HILLS Manikchand Products Private Limited India 2
Deccan Tobacco India 1
Vinataba Tobacco Company Vietnam 2
International Tobacco Company Nigeria 1
LT Group Philippines 1
China Tobacco China, Latin America 4
Gamucci United Kingdom, United States of America (USA), Asia and Africa 1
JUUL Labs United States of America (USA) 9
Swedish Match Sweden 3
Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) Philippines 4
FerioTego Cigar Company United States of America (USA) 1
R.J Reynolds Vapor Company United States of America (USA) 1
Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation South Africa 1
Barco Trading Company Angola 1
Pan Africa Tobacco Group Angola 1
Avail vapour United States of America (USA) 1
22nd Century Group United States of America (USA) 2
West Indian Tobacco Company Limited (WITCO) Trinidad & Tobago 1
Moroccan Tobacco Company (SMT)] Morocco 1
Company not specified or interference via Front Groups United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Australia, Lebanon, Senegal, Sri Lanka, France, Myanmar, India, Chile, South Africa, Kenya, Bhutan, Philippines, Greece, Hong Kong 44

Week 95: 3rd January – 9th January 2022

  • British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia has announced that they have achieved the 4-star rank on Bursa Malaysia Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings. The rating is offered by the FTSE Russell. According to their website, it is a subsidiary of London Stock Exchange Group that reportedly produces, maintains, licenses, and markets stock market indices.[1]
  • Jain Gaurav, a Consumer Analyst at Barclays Investment Bank, predicted a potential to repurchase British American Tobacco (BAT) shares worth at least USD 1.36 billion in the Barclays Global Staples team report for the year 2022. [2]
  • Media highlighted a market research report stating that the British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia could face an uncertainty on distribution of electronic cigarettes and vaporiser liquids and gel because of the government’s decision to indefinitely postpone excise tax on those products. According to the same media report, Kamarul Anwar, a Research analyst at CGS-CIMB Securities, stated that this postponement may be because of the objections from the vape industry and the consumers on higher duty rates. He further stated that this decision "should be neutral for BAT Malaysia's prospects”.[3]
  • ITC Limited India announced Bollywood actress, Tara Sutaria, as the brand ambassador of ITC Savlon Glycerine Soap, under the Savlon brand, the “germ protection” product range of ITC (Image 1).[4] ITC Limited India is the main tobacco company in India, which diversified their business into other ventures.
Image 1: Media reporting the appointment of Tara Sutaria, as the brand ambassador of ITC Savlon Glycerine Soap.[4]

Week 96: 10th January – 16th January 2022

Article 5.3 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends the governments not to have any partnership with the tobacco industry as such partnerships have a fundamental irreconcilable conflict of interest with public health. Tobacco companies are known for their involvement in the illicit trade in many parts of the world. Please visit our page Ceylon Tobacco Misleading Shareholders: The Illicit Cigarettes Issue for more details.
Tobacco companies are well known for their involvement in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in order to gain leverage in interference in tobacco control actions and policies and also to whitewash their image and reputation. Article 5.3 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends the governments not to have any partnership with the tobacco industry as such partnerships have a fundamental irreconcilable conflict of interest with public health.
  • Mattia Binotto, team principal of Ferrari cars, stated that there is a possibility to continue the partnership with Philip Morris International (PMI) featuring their ‘Mission Winnow’ logo (Image 2). However, PMI announced in June 2021, that they had decided to discontinue their sponsorship of Ferrari car team and remove their logo because of the tobacco control advocates’ campaign against it.[11]
Article 13 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends measures to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships.
Image 2: Media reporting the possibility to continue the Ferrari partnership with PMI.[11]

Week 97: 17th January – 23rd January 2022

  • British American Tobacco (BAT) in Indonesia was a finalist under the categories of Best Use of Key Opinion Leaders and Best Use of Promotions at the Mob-Ex Awards 2021, which “rewards the most innovative and forward thinking mobile marketers in the marketing industry across Asia and Australia and New Zealand regions”.[12]
Indonesia is the only country that has not ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the Asia- Pacific region. Article 13 of FCTC recommends measures to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships.
  • British American Tobacco (BAT) announced the launch of the Virtual Research and Development Visitor Experience, a virtual tour of BAT’s global research and development hub in Southampton, United Kingdom. It reportedly enables exploring BAT’s “scientific approaches and advances that support Tobacco Harm Reduction”, and other research areas including “biology, chemistry, toxicology, sensory science, aerosol analysis, product safety, consumer insights, and plant biotechnology”.[13]
Tobacco industry is known for producing their own “evidence” and manipulating science to influence related public health policies and tobacco control actions.
Scientific evidence reveals that tobacco cultivation negatively impact the environment, social economic development and the farmers’ health causing illnesses like Green Tobacco Sickness syndrome, skin disorders, respiratory disorders and psychiatric disorders. Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends the governments not to have any partnership with the tobacco industry as such partnerships have a fundamental irreconcilable conflict of interest with public health.
  • British American Tobacco (BAT) announced the launch of the KBio Holdings Limited, tobacco and cannabis plants based “biotechnology company” in the United Kingdom. This was in partnership with the Kentucky Bio Processing (KBP) in the United States. KBP, a company that reportedly develops tobacco and cannabis “plant based novel technologies”, is a subsidiary of Reynolds American, owned by BAT. Reportedly this partnership is “to enhance the research, development, and production of plant based treatments”. [16]
  • ITC Grand Central hotel has advertised hotel accommodation offers for doctors and defense sector employees. This is reportedly to show gratitude to appreciate their services during the pandemic situation. ITC hotels are owned by ITC Limited India, the main tobacco company in India, which diversified their business into other ventures including a chain of hotels under the same name.[17]
  • William B. Shinoff, an Attorney from the Frantz Law Group, a law firm based in the United States, made a presentation at the board meeting of Silver Consolidated School and asked for the permission to file a lawsuit against JUUL Labs and Altria on behalf of the district for marketing vaping products to students. Previously, counties including Berkeley, Charleston, Anderson, Greenville and Pickens in South Carolina filed similar lawsuits against the marketing and advertising strategies of JUUL.[18]
  • Hrvatski Duhani, a tobacco processing subsidiary of British American Tobacco (BAT) in Croatia, announced starting of negotiation with tobacco producers for the new production season. It was further reported that the largest value of production in last four seasons was seen in 2021, amidst the extreme weather conditions, which was about HRK 81.6 million (USD 12 million) (Image 3).[19]
Image 3: Media reporting HrvatskiDuhani is started the negotiation with tobacco producers in Croatia.[19]

Week 98: 24th January – 30th January 2022

  • Altria announced a decrease of net revenue by 0.8% (USD 8.3 billion) and 0.5% (USD 26 billion) in the fourth quarter and the year 2021 respectively in United States. It further mentioned a growth of share for ‘On’ oral nicotine pouches by 9% in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 2.8% in the whole year 2021 respectively.[20]
  • Philip Morris International (PMI) announced that they have been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) 2022 for the second year. According to their website, GEI “tracks the performance of public companies committed to disclosing their efforts to support gender equality through policy development, representation, and transparency”.[21]
  • Sheldon Wood, Country Manager at Philip Morris International (PMI) for Trinidad and Tobago, stated that they are in the process of introducing smoke free tobacco products. He further mentioned that the company is moving towards a ‘smoke free future’ “with reduced risk products based on their research findings”.[22]
Tobacco industry is known for producing its own “evidence” to manipulate the science related to the public health policies. Scientific evidence has revealed many harms related to vaping and using smoke-free products, including causing addiction and harm to lungs.
Tobacco companies are trying to replace the combustible cigarettes with so called “reduced risk products” to compensate the low sale volumes. However, scientific evidence has revealed that nicotine is a highly addictive substance, which causes harms to brain and lungs. [industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/tobacco/ Truth Tobacco Industry Documents] have revealed that tobacco companies including Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and RJ Reynolds, have been interested in commercial cannabis manufacturing since 1970. BAT investing in Organigram, and Altria investing in Cronos group, two Canadian companies that produce cannabis, are two examples of this business interest.

Table 2: Summary of tobacco companies awarded as “Top Employer”

Tobacco Company Category (Country/ Region/ Global) Remarks
Moroccan Tobacco Company (SMT) Morocco - [25]
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Morocco, Africa and Global for the eighth consecutive year [26]
Philip Morris International (PMI) Morocco, Africa and Global for the 6th consecutive year [27]
Philip Morris International (PMI) Romania and Global for the eighth and sixth consecutive year respectively[28]
British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia Asia pacific and Global for the fifth consecutive year [29]
British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya and Africa for the fifth consecutive year [30]
British American Tobacco (BAT) Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe for the fifth consecutive year [31]
*British American Tobacco (BAT) Pakistan for the fifth consecutive year [32]
Philip Morris International (PMI) Jordan for the sixth consecutive year [33]
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Malaysia for the seventh consecutive year [34]
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Romania for the ninth consecutive year [35]
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Cambodia for the second consecutive year [36]
Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) Asia Pacific for the second consecutive year (Image 4)[37]
Image 4: Media reporting the CTC being awarded the Top Employer award for 2022. [37]

TobaccoUnmasked Resources

Notes

  1. NST Business. BAT Malaysia secures 4-Stars on Bursa Malaysia's ESG ratings, 5 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  2. R. Craver. Analyst forecasts multi-billion share-repurchase program for BAT in 2022, 5 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  3. A. Yusof. Excise duty postponement puts BAT Malaysia vape product distribution plans 'in limbo', says CGS-CIMB Research, 5 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brand Wagon Online. ITC Savlon ropes in Tara Sutaria as brand ambassador for Savlon Glycerin Soap, 5 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  5. M Lane. Philip Morris International introduces IQOS ILUMA PRIME to European duty free market, 5 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  6. The Conversation. Heated tobacco: a new review looks at the risks and benefits, 6 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  7. M. A. Cristea. Emma Zeicescu joins Philip Morris Romania as Communications Director, 10 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  8. R Craver. Reynolds has patent lawsuit setback involving heat-not-burn cigarette technology, 14 January 20222, accessed March 2022
  9. R Chaithram. WITCO launches new cigarette packaging, 14 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  10. PSU Connect. Limited bagged 1st prize in CSR’, 10 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  11. 11.0 11.1 D Gowda. Ferrari hoping to maintain F1 partnership with Philip Morris despite name change, 11 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  12. Marketing. 2021 spills: British American Tobacco plans to beef up consumer journey, 20 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  13. Market Screener. American Tobacco : BAT launches virtual R&D Visitor Experience, showcasing the world-class science behind next generation reduced-risk*† nicotine products, 19 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  14. VN Express. giant pursues green growth, 19 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  15. Vietnam News. ranked in Việt Nam's top 100 sustainable businesses in 2021, 9 December 2021, accessed February 2022
  16. M McGrady. Opens New Biotech Firm, 17 January 2022, accessed January 2022
  17. Hotelier India. Grand Central curates an exclusive offer for doctors and defense personnel, 20 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  18. J Archunde. school board hears pitch to join anti-vaping lawsuit 18 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  19. 19.0 19.1 Hina. Tobacco Processing Company Begins Negotiations on New Production Season, 21 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  20. Business wire. Reports 2021 Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results; Provides 2022 Full-Year Earnings Guidance, 27 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  21. Business wire India. Included in 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for Second Year Running, 27 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  22. D. Caruana. Morris to Introduce Its Smoke-Free Products to Trinidad and Tobago, 24 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  23. R Craver. Century begins retail production of very-low-nicotine cigarettes 26 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  24. S Halder. Tobacco accuses BATB of anti-competitive practices, The Daily Star, 24 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  25. E. Echabouch. Tobacco Company Receives "Top Employer" Designation, 21 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  26. Diglogs. Japan Tobacco International, at the top of the “Top Employers” in Morocco in 2022, 20 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  27. Philip Morris International. PMI certified as Global Top Employer for a sixth consecutive year, 24 January 2022, accessed March 2022
  28. D Cristian. Philip Morris Romania Recognized as Top Employer, for the 8th Consecutive Year, 15 February 2022, accessed March 2022
  29. Market Screener. American Tobacco Malaysia Berhad : BAT Malaysia is Top Employer for Fifth Consecutive Year, 27 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  30. Market Screener. Manufacturer, BAT Named Top Employer in Kenya 25 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  31. Market Screener. American Tobacco : BAT recognised as Global Top Employer for fifth consecutive year, 20 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  32. Business Recorder. named ‘Global Top Employer’ for 5th year in a row, 22 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  33. Albawaba. Morris Jordan Certified As Top Employer For The Sixth Year In A Row, 23 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  34. Malaysiakini. Malaysia recognized as a Top Employer for 7th consecutive year for its innovative approach to equality and wellbeing, 26 January 2022 accessed February 2022
  35. Actmedia. number one in Top Employers assessment for Romania, 26 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  36. Khmer Times. Certified as Top Employer in the Country for 2nd Year, 24 January 2022, accessed February 2022
  37. 37.0 37.1 adaderanabiz.lk. clinches Top Employer title for the 2nd consecutive year in 2022, 20 January 2022, accessed February 2022