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Designed by Adrian Cousins
Maintained by Centre co-ordinator

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Tobacco Control

The tobacco industry, and efforts to strengthen tobacco control worldwide, are cogent examples of the impact of globalisation on public health. Beginning in the 1950s, the tobacco industry has undergone significant restructuring over the past half century to become a highly globalised industry. This change poses a number of important challenges for health:

  • The industry has become dominated by a small number of large and powerful companies increasingly operating across national borders. The capacity for the public health community to effectively regulate and hold to account the activities of the industry has become more difficult as a result.

  • There has been a clear shift in focus by transnational tobacco companies (TTCs), from traditional markets to so-called emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. This is predicted to lead to a major shift in the global burden from tobacco-related diseases to the developing world.

  • Many governments in the developing world are either insufficiently committed to, or unprepared, to tackle this looming public health threat. There is a need to strengthen understanding of the key contribution of the tobacco industry in promoting the rising prevalence of smoking in low and middle-income countries, its targeting of particular populations, and its undermining of tobacco control research and policy.

  • Globalisation offers opportunities for strengthening tobacco control worldwide through improved coordination, information sharing and policy learning. The signing of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, and its implementation in coming years, represents a unique opportunity to strengthen global governance for health.
  • For all tobacco research information please access the link below:

    Tobacco Control Research at LSHTM

  • Research programme on the political economy of the tobacco industry in Southeast Asia
  • Globalisation, the tobacco industry and policy influence.

  • Guildford Archiving Project.


  • Collin J, Lee K, Gilmore A (2004) Unlocking the corporate documents of British American Tobacco: an invaluable global resource needs radically improved access. Lancet 2004; 363 (9423): 1746-47.

  • Lee K, Gilmore A, Collin J (2004) Looking inside the tobacco industry: Revealing insights from the Guildford Depository. Addiction; 99; 394-97.

  • Lee K, Gilmore A, Collin J (2004) Breaking and re-entering: British American Tobacco in China, 1979-2000. Tobacco Control; 13 (supplement II): ii88-ii95.