Publications

Click on links in the left panel for full lists of peer-reviewed articles, reports, books and chapters, and media articles  

In press
Freudenberg N, Lee K, Buse K, et al. Defining priorities for action and research on the commercial determinants of health: a conceptual review. American Journal of Public Health (in press)

Lee K, Freudenberg N, Zenone M, et al. Measuring the commercial determinants of health and disease: A proposed framework. International Journal of Health Services (in press).

Lee K, Freudenberg N. Public Health Roles in Addressing Commercial Determinants of Health. Annual Review of Public Health (in press).
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Zenone M, Silva D, Smith J, Lee K. How does the British Soft Drink Association respond to media research reporting on the health consequences of sugary drinks? Global Health 2021;17(1):72.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading global source of added sugar intake and consumption is associated with diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and overall mortality. Findings illustrate BSDA reliance on arguments of causation to discredit research and avoid policy interventions.
 

PILAR Tobacco Project TeamPromoting Indigenous Led Action on Respecting Tobacco.  Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 2021.

 

 

 

 

MacKenzie R. Commentary. Foreign corporations and the coup in Myanmar: The case of British American Tobacco. Asia and the Pacific Policy Forum, 4 March, 2021.
With the Myanmar military taking the reins of the country, BAT and other foreign companies that remain are bound to become intertwined in the murky dealings of the new regime.

Lee K,  Smith J, Thompson S. Engaging Indigenous peoples in research on commercial tobacco control: a scoping review. AlterNative 2020; 16(4) 332–355.
This scoping review assesses studies self-reporting engagement with Indigenous peoples; their engagement against ethics guidelines concerning research involving Indigenous peoples and writings of Indigenous scholars; and draw lessons for advancing practice.  

MacKenzie R, Lee. PMI’s proxy trade dispute with Thailand.  Tobacco Control 2020;29:e143-e144.
The dispute between Thailand and the Philippines provides an explicit example of transnational tobacco company (TTC) strategy of working through governments as proxies in trade and investment challenges. Contrary to the strong domestic stance by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s on tobacco use, the current case against Thailand suggests that his government is willing to champion the commercial interests of Philippines-based TTCs operating in foreign markets.

Smith J, Fang J. ‘If you kill tobacco, you kill Malawi’: Structural barriers to tobacco diversification for sustainable development. Sustainable Development. 2020; 1-9.
This authors analyse structural barriers to tobacco diversification and opportunities to challenge them, based on the perceptions of those engaged in policy processes in Malawi, the most tobacco dependent country in the world.  
 

Thompson S, Smith J, Lee K,  Thompson S. Industry sponsored harm reduction conference courts Indigenous peoples in Canada. Tobacco Control 2020;29:e130-e131.
Permitting tobacco companies like Rothmans, Benson & Hedges to hijack public health messaging of ostensible harm reduction of new commercial nicotine delivery technologies, while targeting Indigenous peoples with the language of reconciliation is a clear affront to the Canadian government’s stated commitment to uphold the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, the FCTC and The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Smith J, DeSouza L, Fang J. Eastern Africa’s tobacco value chain: links with China. Third World Quarterly 2020; 41(7): 1161-1180.
A distinct feature of Chinese partnerships is that they include support for the tobacco industry, a sector other donor states and institutions shun. Not only is tobacco a primary agricultural export in a number of Africa states, the state-owned Chinese National Tobacco Corporation is the largest tobacco company in the world. This paper analyses Chinese support for the tobacco industry in three states – Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia – documenting how co-operation is shaped by Chinese state capitalism and assessing the development and governance implications.
 

Lee K. Freudenberg N. Editorial. Addressing the commercial determinants of health begins with clearer definition and measurement. Global Health Promotion, 2020;27(2). Available in French and Spanish.  
Understanding the commercial determinants of health as a composite of risk factors, and how these risk factors interact with each other, is critical to the development of effective public health interventions to prevent and control NCDs worldwide.

 

McInnes C, Lee K, Youde  J. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Global Health Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
The Oxford Handbook of Global Health Politics provides an authoritative overview and assessment of research on this important and complicated subject. The volume is motivated by two arguments. First, health is not simply a technical subject, requiring evidence-based solutions to real-world problems, but an arena of political contestation where norms, values, and interests also compete and collide. Second, globalization has fundamentally changed the nature of health politics in terms of the ideas, interests, and institutions involved.

Chapters include Lee K. The Politics of Global Tobacco Control, and Holden C, Hawkins B. Trade and Investment Agreements and the Global Politics of Health.

Fang J, Yang G, Wan X. ‘Pro-tobacco propaganda’: a case study of tobacco industry-sponsored elementary schools in China. Tobacco Control  2020;29:447-451.
While health consequences of smoking are generally known, attitudes towards the tobacco industry and its CSR activities remain positive among the general public. Educators and parents do not perceive any impacts on schoolchildren from exposure to ‘pro-tobacco propaganda’ created by the industry’s CSR activities. Attitudes among tobacco control activists were drastically different, with consensus that CSR activities constitute indirect marketing attempts that should be banned.

MacKenzie R, Fang J, Smith J. Blog. China’s e-cigarette manufacturers facing uncertain future. Tobacco Control, 19 May 2020.
China’s e-cigarette industry accounts for 90% of global production. Since 2019, the industry has been faced with a series of challenges including vaping-related illnesses and deaths; increasing domestic and international restrictions on flavours, advertising and online sales; growing health concerns; and the impact of Covid-19. How Chinese e-manufacturers respond could have global implications.

Novotny TE. Environmental accountability for tobacco product waste. Tobacco Control 2020;29:138-139. 
Public health and environmental advocates need to recognise the significant overlap in each other’s objectives in the war on butts. However, both groups do understand the value and efficacy of upstream interventions in their respective bailiwicks. For public health professionals, anything that reduces the normative behaviour of smoking, discourages the uptake of smoking and prevents secondary or tertiary exposures to tobacco toxins in the environment is part of the ‘end game’ for tobacco use. This endgame notion calls for ‘new and politically risky’ approaches along with stronger community engagement to achieve the end of the tobacco epidemic.

 

Fang J, De Souza L. Smith J,  Lee K. “All Weather Friends”: How China Transformed Zimbabwe’s Tobacco Sector. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2020, 17; 723.
This paper analyses the expansion of the China National Tobacco Company (CNTC) in Zimbabwe, the largest producer of tobacco leaf globally, since the early 2000s, through document analysis. It applies a political economy framework—identifying material, ideational and institutional forces—to demonstrate how CNTC capitalized on the unique features of China-Africa development cooperation to pursue its expansion goals, which threaten global public health efforts to reduce tobacco supply.  
 

Lee K, Crosbie E. Understanding Structure and Agency as Commercial Determinants of Health; Comment on “How Neoliberalism Is Shaping the Supply of Unhealthy Commodities and What This Means for NCD Prevention”.
International Journal of Health Policy and Management 2020,9(7):315-318.

Limited success in addressing the dramatic rise in non-communicable diseases has focused attention on the commercial determinants of health (CDH). Building on previous analysis of neoliberalism in shaping the policy environment that favours commercial interests, we argue for fuller engagement with structure and agency interaction when conceptualising, assessing, and identifying public health measures to address CDH.

Hawkins B, Holden C, Mackinder S. The Battle for Standardised Cigarette Packaging in Europe. Multi-Level Governance, Policy Transfer and the Integrated Strategy of the Global Tobacco Industry. Palgrave Studies in Public Health Policy Research. Switzerland: Springer Nature, 2020.
"This book is essential reading for researchers of tobacco policy change. Too many studies simply complain that change is too slow because tobacco companies are too powerful and politicians lack the will to challenge them. This book goes much further, to help us understand not just industry strategy but the policy processes in which policy advocates engage, learn from each other, and help create essential global tobacco policy change."
      - Paul Cairney, University of Stirling, UK

van Schalkwyk MCI, Novotny TE, McKee M. No more butts. BMJ  23 October 2019;367:l5890
Even though the cellulose acetate filter is the single most commonly collected item of litter globally, the industry has largely succeeded in avoiding the public outrage expressed towards plastic waste produced by, for example, McDonald’s and Starbucks. Unlike manufacturers of some other polluting post-consumption waste products, such as refrigerators containing fluorocarbons, it has never been held accountable for the cost of the waste it generates.

MacKenzie R, Fang J, Smith J. China: CTI’s quiet expansion strategy should be a concern for global public health. Tobacco Control Blog 12 October 2019.
In July this year, China Tobacco International Hong Kong, the international arm of the China National Tobacco Corporation, launched an public stock offering. Outside of the financial media, the IPO attracted littlevattention. However, the offering has significant implications as the goal of the IPO was to finance market expansion in CNTC target markets, and establish strategic collaborations with other cigarette companies.

Fang J, Lee K. PMI-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World adding insult to injury.
Tobacco Control Blog 26 September 2019
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Tobacco control worldwide continues to be seriously underfunded as a public health priority, particularly in low-income countries and among certain historically disadvantaged populations.  It is into this space that the PMI-financed Foundation for a Smokefree World has stepped in to flash the cash in a search for allies.

 

Xu EG, Richardot W, Li S, Buruaem L, Wei HH, Dodder N, Schick S, Novotny TE, Schlenk D, Gersberg R, Hoh E. Assessing toxicity and In Vitro bioactivity of smoked cigarette leachate using cell-based assays and chemical analysis.  Chem. Res. Toxicol 2019;(328)1670-1679.
We examined the cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), estrogen receptor (ER), and p53 response pathways of smoked cigarette leachate in vitro. Both seawater and freshwater leachates of smoked cigarettes were tested. Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity were negligible at 100 smoked cigarettes/L, while statistically significant AhR, ER, and p53 responses were observed in the extracts of both leachates, suggesting a potential risk to human health through exposure to cigarette litter in the environment. To identify responsible chemicals for the AhR response, an effect directed analysis approach was coupled with nontargeted chemical analysis based on comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC × GC/TOF-MS). Eleven compounds potentially responsible for the AhR response were identified. Among them, 2-methylindole was partially responsible for the AhR response.

Fang J, Smith J. Should tobacco play a role in China’s international development model? East Asia Policy Forum 23 August 2019.
China remains a unique case due to its willingness to engage with tobacco farming as part of agricultural development cooperation. Support for tobacco leaf as an agricultural crop has been included in bilateral agreements with countries such as Zimbabwe. These initiatives not only contradict China’s commitments under the WHO FCTC, but have questionable long-term development outcomes.
 

Fang J. China: Tobacco and Belt and Road Initiative – the new ‘Go Global’?
Tobacco Control 1 August 2019

In 2017, the Chinese government's Belt and Road Initiative was officially adopted by the Chinese tobacco industry, as the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued a “Work plan on the tobacco industry participating in One Belt One Road to implement ‘Go Global’ development”.

 

Stigler Granados P, Fulton L, Nunez Patlan E, Terzyk M, Novotny TE. Global Health Perspectives on Cigarette Butts and the Environment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2019, 16(10):1858.
This study used an online survey tool to assess knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding this issue among individuals representing the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA).Weighted rankings revealed that respondents’ saw the national government, the tobacco industry, and state governments as the most important in addressing TPW. The results of this research will inform continuing international discussions by the FCTC Conference of the Parties (COP) regarding environmental policies that may be addressed within FCTC obligations.
 

Kelley Lee review of Korhman et al, Poisonous Pandas: Chinese Cigarette Manufacturing in Critical Historical Perspectives (Stanford University Press, 2018) appeared in the The Lancet 2019; 313:1290-91.   

Smith J, Lee K. Corporate interests within transnational advocacy networks: The International Coalition Against Plain Packaging. Global Networks April 2019.
Most research on transnational advocacy networks documents progressive, voluntary movements, motivated by values associate with human rights and public goods. There is little critical reflection on the role of corporations within such networks or on the material motivations behind movements. Meanwhile literature on corporate political strategies related to partnerships with civil society is limited to national level analysis. This article presents a case study of the International Coalition Against Plain Packaging, which is conceptualized as a transnational advocacy network, and documents its links to the tobacco industry. We find that, not only have tobacco companies provided network members – publicly presented and perceived as independent – with financial resources, but they have also been involved in producing the information used by the network to debate the benefits of plain packaging.

 

Smith J, Thompson S, Lee K. ‘Both Sides of the Argument’?  A critical review of existing evidence on the illicit trade in tobacco products in Canada. Tobacco Control 2019.   ITTP in Canada is a major and complex issue that requires effective tobacco control policies, there is limited evidence on which to develop such responses. This review finds industry-linked studies lack independence, employ biased methodologies and serve tobacco industry interests. Independent studies present more rigorous approaches, but primarily focus on youth and the province of Ontario.
 

Mathers A, Hawkins B, Lee K. Transnational tobacco companies and new nicotine delivery systems (NNDS): A new phase in tobacco industry globalization. American Journal of Public Health 2019.
While the public health community has focused on the harm-reduction potential of new nicotine delivery systems (NNDSs) and, conversely, their potential for impeding overall efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use, limited analysis has been conducted on the role of leading transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) in this rapidly growing market. Following aborted efforts during the 1980s and 1990s to develop reduced-risk products, TTCs have heavily invested in selected NNDS products since 2010 via acquisitions and internal research and developmentThis article catalogs and analyzes the patterns of investment in NNDSs by leading TTCs over time, and identifies differences in the companies’ approaches to NNDS product acquisition and development in specific markets globally.
 

Eckhardt J, Lee K. The International Political Economy of Health. In: Shaw TM, Mahrenbach LC, Modi R, Yi-chong, X (eds). The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary International Political Economy. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2019.
The term ‘global health’  has come to encompass both cross-border and trans-border phenomena, attracting a new generation of scholars from health and IPE. It is in this context that this chapter sets out health as an emerging issue in the study of contemporary IPE.
 

Maddox R, Waa A, Lee K, Nez Henderson P, Blais G, Reading J, Lovett R. Commercial tobacco and indigenous peoples: a stock take on Framework Convention on Tobacco Control progress. Tobacco Control 2019; 28(5):574-581.
We evaluated and compared reporting on FCTC progress related to indigenous peoples by Australia, Canada and New Zealand as States Parties. Strengthening FCTC reporting instruments to include standardised indigenous-specific data will help to realise the FCTC Guiding Principles by holding States Parties to account and building momentum for reducing the high prevalence of commercial tobacco use among indigenous peoples.  

 

Hawkins B, Holden C, Mackinder S. A multi-level, multi-jurisdictional strategy: Transnational tobacco companies' attempts to obstruct tobacco packaging restrictions. Global Public Health 2019 14;4:570-583.
This article draws on analysis of public documents and 32 semi-structured interviews with key policy actors. It finds that TTCs developed coordinated and highly integrated strategies to oppose packaging restrictions across multiple jurisdictions and levels of governance.