Bannatyne Takes on Big Tobacco

1st July 2008| BBC2

In a hard-hitting investigation businessman Duncan Bannatyne travels to Malawi, Mauritius and Nigeria and discovers tactics BAT are using which circumvent bans on advertising and raise the profile of cigarettes in countries where doctors are already predicting a potential epidemic of smoking- related diseases. This comes after previous investigations raised concerns at the marketing techniques used by the company – which led BAT to say that they’re not targeting youth.

BAT’s own marketing code acknowledges that single cigarettes are particularly attractive to youth (who may not be able to afford a whole packet of cigarettes) and BAT claim that they do not encourage the sale of single sticks because it encourages youth access. Yet in Mauritius, Bannatyne discovers special pots which BAT have distributed to shops to make it easier for them to sell single cigarettes. In Malawi and Nigeria he discovers posters that BAT have produced depicting single cigarettes and showing the price of a single cigarette.
He also meets children as young as 11 who are buying the single cigarettes and already developing a nicotine habit With secretly shot footage, the programme shows the pungwe or music events organised by BAT in Malawi which show cigarettes as sexy, exciting and fun. The concert features some of Malawi’s most popular bands wearing branded T shirts,

In an interview with Chris Proctor, Head of Research and Regulation at BAT, Bannatyne challenges him on the issue of single cigarettes and other tactics he believes are breaching their marketing code. He shows Proctor a poster advertising single cigarettes from Malawi Proctor says: Yeah, I mean it is a real issue, I agree Duncan.’ He continues: ‘Well, I mean the posters you showed me shows some branding and that will be against the marketing standards that we’ve just reinvigorated and will be finalised for June 2008. Anything at a point of sale, a poster like that could say a price but it’d have to be in black and white with a health warning.’


Directed & Produced by Alison Pinkney
Reporter: Duncan Bannatyne
Executive Producer: David Henshaw