The tobacco industry supply chain database: Who supplies the tobacco industry
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Tobacco Control Research Group, Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):5
Tobacco control research and advocacy has yet to capitalize on understanding the tobacco industry supply chain.

To build a database to expose the processes, actors and supporting industries involved in tobacco production, laying the groundwork to expand the scope of tobacco control beyond the transnational tobacco companies (TTCs).

Systematic search of the academic literature and tobacco industry documentation (industry magazine advertisements) were used to build a model of the tobacco industry supply chain. These findings, updated with web searches and broadened via data from the United Nations, World Health Organization and Global Burden of Disease, are sources for the Tobacco Industry Supply Chains database. The database provides country-level information on supply chain companies, tobacco growing and trade, supplemented by health and environmental implications of involvement in the tobacco industry supply chain.

We identify five major processes in tobacco production:
1. Growing tobacco
2. Primary processing the tobacco leaf;
3. Secondary processing into manufactured products;
4. Logistics - moving and distributing tobacco leaf and manufactured products; and
5. Selling the tobacco products.
Supporting industries supply machinery, chemicals (for example pesticides and flavorings), other product components (paper filters and packaging) and buildings (curing barns and warehousing). Our database includes 195 jurisdictions; approximately half of these host at least one of the 1000 supply chain companies or subsidiaries recorded in the database.

Researchers and campaigners seeking to design effective policies preventing the expansion of this industry and the health harms it produces, need to look beyond the TTCs to identify under-exploited leverage points along the entire tobacco supply chain.