Why become
tobacco free?

Tobacco Stands Alone

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. When used as intended, tobacco will have contributed to the early death of two out of three smokers (source). The scale of negative impact of tobacco is profound, causing an estimated six million deaths per year globally (source). Positive influence of the industry through professional engagement is futile as the only acceptable outcome would be for tobacco companies to cease their primary business.

Investment Risk

Numerous international health organisations are actively working with governments of the developing world to enhance tobacco control regulation and reduce tobacco consumption. In addition, major class actions against tobacco companies pose considerable financial risk.

Reputation Risk

Investment in tobacco companies implies endorsement of the product itself and of the industry as a whole.

Human Rights Abuse

Almost no cigarette can be guaranteed to be free from child labour (source).

A Paradigm Shift

In recognition of the global ‘tobacco epidemic’ in 2004 the World Health Organisation established the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the world’s first legally binding health treaty. There are now 180 Parties (source), including the European Community, which makes it one of the most widely embraced treaties in United Nations’ history. Parties have committed to implementing a broad range of tobacco control measures to reduce the number of new smokers and to encourage current smokers to quit, in a global commitment to ending the tobacco epidemic.


Issues for Consideration

Which companies?

Tobacco manufacturers only (GCIS code 30203010). Not retailers or companies associated with packaging, machinery or transport.

Fiduciary Responsibility

Fiduciary duty can be maintained while implementing tobacco free investment mandates.

What about ‘Socially Responsible Investment’ options or ‘Sustainable Investment’ options?

Socially Responsible Investments (SRIs) and sustainable investment options are subject to broad and varied interpretations across the industry.

In 2011, Dr. King discovered that the seven largest super funds in Australia with health professionals as members, each had ‘SRIs’ or ‘sustainable’ options; however, only three of these funds excluded tobacco from that option.

The only way for the superannuation industry to be tobacco free is for it to be comprehensively tobacco free, across all investment options. Six of the seven funds Dr. King researched have since implemented all-inclusive tobacco free investment policies.