British American Tobacco Cause Controversy After They Acquire Reynolds

British American Tobacco is now the world’s largest tobacco company after shareholders approved their buyout of Reynolds, merging the two.

The deal was completed on Wednesday, and it will take British American Tobacco back to the US tobacco market for the first time in 12 years.

Backed by the vast majority of shareholders at a meeting in London, the move is expected to also focus on the development of electronic cigarettes and vaping accessories.

The BAT-Reynolds merger has attracted criticism from health campaigners, who are alleging that the tobacco industry is trying to get around governmental legislation.

It was revealed that the Tobacco Products Directive in Europe was already damaging for tobacco retailers in March, months before the legislation was formally introduced.

“By taking over Reynolds, BAT, already one of the top five companies in the FTSE 100, is now the largest tobacco company in the world,” explained Deborah Arnott, from UK public health charity ASH.

“Despite all the talk during the merger negotiations of the importance of ‘next generation products’ BAT is still clearly focused on flogging fags to low- and middle-income countries. As a result, it is hardly surprising that the tobacco epidemic is still growing in such countries rather than on the wane as it is in the UK and the US.

“We find it particularly shameful that a British company, BAT, is so dominant in Commonwealth countries like those in Africa, where it has been exposed for its continued use of intimidatory tactics. Ironically this is at the same time that the British government has committed £15m in aid funding to help governments tackle the epidemic and drive down smoking rates.”

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