Big Tobacco influencing governments’ tobacco policy


This 2017 video says about itself:

3 June 2017

Smoking kills. So if you’re in an industry where your product is damaging the health of people who buy it and they know it, then you should in theory go out of business. But shares in companies listed in the Bloomberg tobacco producers index have risen 351% since 2009, making it one of the best investments of the past decade.

Graphic warning labels and taxes seem to have some impact on reducing the number of smokers but less so on industry profits which keep rising. And investors can’t quit buying the stocks because operating profits continue to go up.

Different tax regimes around the world mostly account for the difference in price. But governments are not as hooked as the consumers who buy cigarettes. Consumers cough up for higher prices because they crave the drug in tobacco – nicotine. Without nicotine, addiction there would be no tobacco industry.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How the tobacco industry ‘extends its tentacles all over the government

Marc Willemsen, professor … at the University of Maastricht names, eg, an employers’ organization such as VNO-NCW [the biggest bosses’ organisation speaking for many types of industries]. “It represents strongly the interests of the tobacco industry.” …

That lobbying is done at national politics in The Hague, but also at European Union level. An internal document of Philip Morris mentioned about hundreds of MEPs which lobbying techniques they were sensitive to, revealed TV program Radar Extra in December 2017.

Tobacco giants such as Philip Morris also make funds available for research.

Philip Morris tobacco and Dutch Bergen op Zoom local authority: here.

Smoking, from royal promotion to doctors’ objection


Karel I cigars box

This photo shows a decades old Dutch cigar box, of the brand Karel I. The upper left corner of the box says ‘Hofleverancier’, meaning that this cigar factory had a royal warrant of appointment. The factory does not exist anymore.

Karel I is the Dutch name for Charles I, king of England (1600-1649); depicted on the case. The cigars were named after that monarch as he encouraged smoking because he could get money from taxing it. Charles I’s father, King James I, had hated tobacco.

Karel I cigar band

There is also tobacco named after Charles I’s son, King Charles II.
King Charles II tobacco

In the 20th century, Dutch school children were asked a question, to which the correct reply was King Charles II. One pupil replied: ‘Karel I’. The teacher said: ‘Wrong. Karel I is a cigar’. Another pupil said: ‘Karel de eerste’ (=King Charles I; in Dutch one should name him ‘de eerste’, ‘the first’. Saying ‘I’= ‘one’ like the first pupil did was grammatically wrong for a prince’s name). The teacher said: ‘Wrong. Karel de eerste was de sigaar, as he was beheaded.’ In Dutch the saying ‘was de sigaar’ means ‘became a victim’.

Willem II cigar box

There also used to be, and still is, another Dutch cigar brand: Willem II. It is called after a contemporary of English kings Charles I and II: William II, 1626-1650, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic and prince of Orange. The crown depicted on the box should refer to the small principality Orange in France; as stadtholders did not have princely powers in the Republic.

Willem II is also the name of a Dutch premier league football club. But that club is named after a different Willem II: King William II of the Netherlands, 1792-1849.

Now, in the 21st century, smoking is not as popular anymore as in the days of King Charles I or the early twentieth century.

This 1 February 2018 Dutch TV video says about itself (translated):

The University Medical Center Groningen joins the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in suing the tobacco industry. The hospital reported this on Radio 1 on Thursday morning. It is suing them for serious abuse. According to the hospitals, the fight against cancer is extremely uphill, as long as the tobacco manufacturers wantonly make people addicted. It is the first time in the Netherlands that hospitals make declarations because of severe abuse. The hospitals are assisted by lawyer Bénédicte Ficq.