How tobacco bosses play politicians: See this 8-point plan

South Africa’s tobacco ban has underscored that the cigarette trade is not your ordinary type of business. The prohibition has served to boost the profits of manufacturers, who were already generating huge returns out of our collective nicotine addiction before they moved to the underground market.

Fuelling suspicions that politicians have been captured by corporates, and as a result have shoehorned the ban on cigarette sales into Covid-19 restrictions, is this interesting slide (below). It was leaked from deep inside Philip Morris International, a multinational with 73,500 employees selling to 150m smokers worldwide, and shared this week by the African Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research as an example of how tobacco corporates operate.

The strategy shows, quite clearly, that the tobacco giant puts much thought, energy and money into winning a political game, building political allies and completing a “political power map”. Journalists and activists are manipulated; consumers are skilfully wooed by influencers. We are all being played by cigarette manufacturers – but especially the politicians.


PS: In today’s BizNews Finance Friday webinar, to answer your money questions are Debbie Netto-Jonker, an award-winning financial planner who divides her time between Australia and South Africa, and SA and global property expert Andrew Golding, of Pam Golding Properties: