Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Friday, September 18 2020 - 09:00
Conflicts Among State-Owned Global Tobacco Companies and Governments Impede Tobacco Control Efforts
NEW YORK, Sept. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-- New Research Identifies Contradictions and Potential Pathways for Change

 New research published by leading international business and corporate 
governance scholar Daniel Malan identifies inherent conflicts of interest with 
many of the countries leading the development of global tobacco control policy. 
The "Contradictions and Conflicts"( 
) report specifically identifies contradictions between governments' fiduciary 
responsibility to maximize  state monopoly profitability and their health 
responsibility to minimize public health risks, as well as generate potential 

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According to recent data, nearly 50% of the global combustible cigarette market 
is controlled by governments that claim commitment to the World Health 
Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)( 
), which seeks to "protect present and future generations from the devastating 
health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption 
and exposure." Eight of these FCTC countries own 100% of at least one tobacco 
company, including China, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, and 
Vietnam. Notably, China National Tobacco Corporation controls roughly 44% of 
the global cigarette market.

"Our research underlines a clear conflict of interest among these FCTC 
signatories," said Daniel Malan, Assistant Professor of Business Ethics, 
Trinity College Dublin; member, World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on 
Transparency and Anti-Corruption; and an author of the report. "FCTC's Article 
5.3 requires parties to protect the implementation of their public health 
policies against the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. 
Yet, this is impossible when many of the same countries are also striving to 
generate revenue from state-owned tobacco entities."

No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
The Contradictions and Conflicts report notes that state monopolies are not 
subject to multinational governance, and pressure from national government 
organizations has been largely ignored within the tobacco industry. There are 
also no clear differences in health policies or burden of disease data when 
compared with countries where there is no significant state ownership of 
tobacco companies. As a result, the WHO may find it challenging to identify a 
one-size-fits-all solution to this conflict of interest.

The possible solutions for governments with state-owned tobacco interests are 
complex. The report suggests that shifting from the production and marketing of 
combustible cigarettes over time to tobacco harm-reduction products could 
alleviate the conflicts that the state-owned tobacco enterprises face and 
ultimately save lives. Leading researchers and organizations such as the 
Foundation for a Smoke-Free World are mobilizing globally to create solutions 
that help expand knowledge in cessation and harm-reduction areas, including 
biomarker discovery, outcomes of quitting/switching on the microbiome, and 
innovative clinical trial designs for cessation therapies.

"The data show a clear need and opportunity to not only regulate state-owned 
tobacco companies, but also to encourage them to evolve their business models 
toward the development and promotion of innovative harm-reduction solutions," 
said Dr. Derek Yach, President of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. "More 
than 8 million people die from tobacco-related illnesses each year. Governments 
must act to directly address the long-term health and wellness of the people 
living in their countries." 

Later this month, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World will release the first 
Tobacco Transformation Index, which will reveal that leading tobacco companies 
are making limited, but in some cases meaningful, progress by lowering the 
risks of their products and addressing long-term profitability at the same 
time, through investments in harm reduction.

A key implication from Contradictions and Conflicts is that if state-owned 
tobacco companies were to accelerate efforts to integrate tobacco harm 
reduction into long-term corporate strategy, they would not only address the 
conflict, but they would also simultaneously accelerate global progress toward 
smoking cessation. This type of business restructuring to improve health 
already exists. China, for example, has embraced a similar path in regard to 
fossil fuels by committing its domestic auto manufacturing sector to ending 
production and sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines.  

Commissioned by a research grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, 
the Contradictions and Conflicts report was co-authored by Daniel Malan and 
Brett Hamilton, visiting faculty member, University of Stellenbosch Business 

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, US nonprofit 501(c)(3) 
private foundation with the mission of improving global health by ending 
smoking in this generation. The Foundation strives to achieve its mission by 
focusing its work on three core pillars: Health, Science, and Technology; the 
Agricultural Transformation Initiative; and Industry Transformation. The 
Foundation has received charitable contributions from PMI Global Services Inc. 
(PMI) in each of 2018 and 2019 in the amount of US $80 million. Under the 
Foundation's bylaws and its pledge agreement with PMI, Foundation shall 
maintain full independence, and shall make all its decisions on its own, free 
from the control, interim instructions, or influence from or by PMI or any 
other third parties. The Foundation's acceptance of any charitable contribution 
from PMI does not constitute an endorsement by the Foundation of any of PMI's 
products. For more information about the Foundation, please visit

Nicole Bradley 
Vice President of Communications 

SOURCE: Foundation for a Smoke-Free World