Tuesday 16th December, 2003
EUROPE’S FIRST DATABASE OF TOBACCO INDUSTRY EVIDENCE
UP TO 14,000 PAGES of evidence examining the inner workings
of the tobacco industry will become available to everyone
through an online database launched today.
The database was constructed by Cancer Research UK’s
Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of Strathclyde
with funding from NHS Health Scotland.
The evidence was originally submitted for public review to
the House of Commons Health Select Committee. The Committee
demanded that the tobacco industry’s top five UK advertising
agencies release all relevant internal documentation relating
to their advertising and marketing activities on tobacco accounts.
This evidence has formed the backbone for a number of pieces
of research that highlight the workings of the tobacco industry.
All of the documents will now be freely available to the public
in a simple to use online database. It can be visited at www.tobaccopapers.com.
These previously confidential papers were also used to help
develop Cancer Research UK’s ongoing ‘Death Repackaged’
ad campaign. The campaign aims to highlight how brand and
marketing strategies may have misled smokers about the perceived
health benefits of smoking ‘light’ and ‘mild’
Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the Cancer Research
UK Centre for Tobacco Control Research, says: “This
evidence is unique in Europe. It will cast a public light
on the internal workings of the tobacco industry and help
open its practices up to public scrutiny.”
The evidence formed the core of Professor Hastings’
report ‘Keep Smiling. No One’s Going To Die’.
This showed how the main driver for the tobacco industry and
their ad agencies was an enthusiastic maximising of commercial
success – coupled with a failure to deal with the public
health consequences of smoking.
Dr James Inglis, Director of Health Information for NHS Health
Scotland, says: “26,000 Scottish teenagers get hooked
on cigarettes every year. The strategies used by the tobacco
industry to promote their products have been hidden for far
too long. We must ensure that the public understand how the
tobacco industry operates.”
The web site will have a facility to incorporate further
evidence as it becomes available. Marketing case studies will
continue to be added. These show specific tobacco marketing
strategies undertaken in the UK – highlighting industry
aims and methods. They cover topics including sponsorship,
the marketing of tobacco to young people and discount brands.
Chairman of the House of Commons Health Select Committee
David Hinchcliffe MP, says: “These papers show what
the tobacco industry thinks of its consumers in its own words.
It’s pretty damning. Tobacco is one of the major threats
to the UK’s public health – so it’s fascinating
and quite chilling to see how tobacco is marketed.”
Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Tobacco
Control, adds: “This is another step towards lifting
the veil from the tobacco industry - an ongoing target of
Cancer Research UK, seen most recently with the ‘Death
Repackaged’ campaign. The aim is to ensure that people
have access to all the facts about tobacco products.”
For media inquiries please contact Steve Palmer on 020 7061 8312/8300, or out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264059.
Notes to Editors
- Copies of ‘Keeping Smiling: No One’s
Going To Die’ and five topic specific case studies can
be downloaded from the website
- Electronic versions of the ‘Death Repackaged’
ads are available from the Cancer Research UK press office
- Details of the ‘Death Repackaged’ campaign
can be viewed at www.lowtarexposed.org
- The terms ‘light’ and ‘mild’
were outlawed under the European Union’s Directive on
Tobacco Product Regulation. This came into force on September
- For help to quit smoking call the NHS Smoking Helpline
on 0800 169 0169 or visit www.givingupsmoking.co.uk
- Visit our website CancerHelp UK (www.cancerhelp.org.uk)
for clear, easy to understand information about cancer and
- Smoking causes nine out of ten cases of lung cancer
- Although the documents are in the public domain,
they have previously only been available from the House of
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