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A brief overview of the tobacco industry in the last 20 years
  1. Stella Aguinaga Bialous1,
  2. Silvy Peeters2
  1. 1Tobacco Policy International, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Tobacco Control Research Group, Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stella Aguinaga Bialous, 676 Funston Avenue, San Francisco CA 94118, USA; stella{at}


Since the launch of Tobacco Control 20 years ago, there have been several changes in the tobacco industry worldwide. The goal of this commentary is to present some of the keys changes of the past two decades. This time is marked by mergers and acquisitions that led to the existence, today, of four major transnational tobacco companies: Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco. The possible role of the China National Tobacco Corporation in the world tobacco market is also discussed. In addition, in the past decade there was an increase in tobacco companies' investment in non-cigarette forms of nicotine delivery. The impact of these changes for tobacco control policy is briefly discussed.

  • Tobacco industry
  • tobacco companies
  • merger and acquisition
  • advocacy
  • industry documents
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • public policy
  • harm reduction
  • advertising and promotion

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  • Funding Work funded by EC FP7 Grant Agreement HEALTH-F2-2009-223323, ‘Pricing Policies and Control of Tobacco in Europe (PPACTE)’, contributed to this paper.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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