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Bryan C. Simpson

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Bryan C. Simpson was the inaugural director of the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA) circa December 1978. Before that he had been chairman of the Australian Media Council, and the marketing director of the Murdoch-controlled newspaper group Herald and Weekly Times

He was a friend of the industry, and especially of key staff at Philip Morris which drove the establishment of the TIA organisation. It was no secret that Simpson was chosen by them and that Philip Morris funded most of the defensive activities for nearly a decade. In his period at the TIA (until 1983) he focused on networking, lobbying and publications. The industry was fighting a very vocal and energetic anti-smoking movement which promoted (often successfully) -- and well before other countries -- advertising bans, recognition of the cigarette/lung-cancer link, and limitations on passive smoking (environmental tobacco smoke). The highly aggressive health authorities also took an active interest in limiting smoking in the interests of general health, with particular focus on youth smoking and the industry’s massive contribution to politicians (both sides) and the Libertarian think-tanks (Centre for Independent Studies, Institute of Public Affairs, Sydney Institute). Simpson was seen as successful in holding the line against what was probably the most vigorous anti-smoking movements in the world.

Simpson later became the first 'Secretary General' of the global tobacco industry's organization INFOTAB, which had replace ICOSI. INFOTAB was formed to coordinate global responses to public health efforts to control tobacco and it acted as a node in the network of global companies, European and Asian tobacco organisations, and an extensive chain of Libertarian think-tanks and pseudo-service organisation which were well funded to support the smoking culture.

Biography

The Tobacco Institute of Australia was inaugurated on December 1, 1978. Prior to this time, Bryan Simpson was Chairman of the Media Accreditation Authority and the Media Council of Australia. Simpson has held advertising executive positions also with New Zealand newspapers before becoming involved in the tobacco industry before working on marketing side of a Murdoch controlled Melbourne newspaper, the Herald & Weekly Times and eventually marrying into the family.

There is some confusion: some tobacco documents suggest that Bryan Simpson was initially a consultant to the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA) in 1989 (see Philip Morris document Bates number 2021594088/4096). The core objectives of the new TIA included:

  • ...to defend the industry's right to market its products without unwarranted restrictions in Australia;
  • to promote better understanding by decision makers and the various Australian publics of the tobacco industry and its place in the national economy;
  • whereever possible, to gain recognition for the beneficial aspects of smoking; and
  • to introduce a proper perspective on environmental hazards which have a detrimental effect on public health".

(TDS: Philip Morris 1000219634/9635, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zsd84e00]

In his capacity as Director of the Tobacco Institute of Australia, Bryan Simpson was a speaker at the International Committee on Smoking Issues (ICOSI) Joint Meeting held in Zurich, 20-23 May, 1979. His discussion was titled Australian Industry Public Smoking Activities which were then seen by industry insiders as one of the most successful in the world. (TDS: Philip Morris 1000040887/0893, http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kqi97e00).

When the industry decided to drop ICOSI and create a new International organisation (INFOTAB) based in Brussels, Bryan Simpson was the logical choice to be the Secretary General of INFOTAB. He was undoubtedly chosen by Philip Morris International's two top executives (the Australian-born Geoff Bible and Bill Murray, and this selection would have been supported by his old friend and close associate Andrew Whist who was now the Head of PMI Corporate Affairs. Whist had also been transferred from Australia to the Philip Morris head office in New York; these were his old Australian friends.

(Note: he was still serving as spokesperson for the Tobacco Institute of Australia in 1994.)

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