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 all tobacco research information please access the link
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.