Public health up in smoke: Big tobacco returns to Burma

IN July 2013, British American Tobacco (BAT) announced it would be returning to Burma (Myanmar). The company had withdrawn from the domestic market a decade earlier, following criticism by human rights groups, non‐governmental organisations and the UK Government of its commercial links to the country’s military regime. Prior to selling its 60 per cent share of the Burma operation in November 2003, BAT officials argued that the company could not be held accountable for the host government’s human rights record, and cited its ostensible contributions to health, education and other causes. The return of BAT and a number of other western companies to Burma has been facilitated by recent reforms to the country’s political, economic, and social systems. SEE ALSO: ‘Disneyland for Big Tobacco’: Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are keeping people hooked These reforms include the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, the National League for Democracy’s 2015 general election victory, and discussions with the International...


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