BAT spreading damage around the globe

28 April 2017:

On 26 April, BAT held is AGM in London and celebrated its earnings for 2016. Profits from the Asia-Pacific region alone amounted to USD1.7 billion. The region contributed to 27 percent of BAT’s revenue where it sells 196 billion sticks. BAT’s harmful business is damaging especially to developing countries.

Despite the fact many of BAT’s long-term customers suffer life threatening diseases such as heart disease BAT claimed “We place adult consumers at the heart of our business.”Successful tobacco business means more disease and death.

BAT’s Chairman in his speech celebrated the group revenue is up by 6.9 percent, operations grew by 4.1 per cent, and that “the business is performing very well”. In the ASEAN Region, BAT’s key markets that contributed to its increased profits are Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.  Tobacco related deaths in these countries are increasing annually: 240,000 in Indonesia, 87,000 in the Philippines and 66,000 in Vietnam.

Tobacco use kills about 500,000 people per year in the ASEAN region. Tobacco impoverishes the users and burdens national economies with more than USD 10 billion in health care costs annually due to tobacco-related illnesses and premature deaths.  

According to ASH in the UK, the cost of the death and diseases caused by tobacco is too great to be ignored. The $152 billion strain placed on the global economy by BAT is money wasted which could be better spent on preventative measures to dissuade people from smoking.

Tobacco farming is not a lucrative employment activity and does not lift farmers out of poverty. For example in the Philippines on average, a tobacco farmer earns USD 1,328.00 to 2,507.00 per year. This is nothing compared to the millions tobacco executives take home in their annual paychecks. Compare this with BAT’s CEO who was paid US$ 9.5million (£ 7.6m) in 2016, a 40% salary increase from 2015.

Child labor in tobacco growing has subsidized the cheap prices tobacco companies pay for the leaves. “Tobacco companies should not benefit from child labor. They do not have a zero-child labor policy and purchase leaves made from child-labor. Thousands of children are employed in hazardous conditions on Indonesia’s tobacco farms and other tobacco-growing countries in the ASEAN Region.

ASH invites you to #ActOnTobacco in order to create a stronger global economy, strengthen developing nations to lift people out of poverty, and develop healthier communities around the world.

How you can get involved in the campaign:

  • Share your stories about how tobacco has affected you and tag them with #ActOnTobacco
  • Help make the campaign visual — share images and photos of the impact tobacco has had on you or those around you.