The last two cigarette factories in UK are to close with loss of around 1,500 jobs. Production is to move to Germany and Poland or Romania. Save our tobacco industry!
The factory produces 17 billion cigarettes per year and contributes £500m to the local economy. The company made £3.18 billion profits last year and is moving its operations to Eastern Europe to “make even more money”.
Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher (now Japanese owned) is to shut its factory in County Antrim with the loss of more than 800 jobs by around 2016. The JTI Gallaher factory in Ballymena is among the largest employers in Northern Ireland.
“Each year almost £60m is pumped into the local wage economy by JTI – from 2017 that will be over,”
Excuses by both Imperial and Gallaher about European Union cigarette packaging legislation are not relevant as that legislation will affect Poland and elsewhere in Europe too.
The Gallaher Tobacco Company was founded in 1857, whilst Imperial Tobacco’s roots can be traced back to 1877 and John Player. Imperial Tobacco (Imperial Brands plc) is the world’s fourth-largest international cigarette company measured by market share after Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco (BAT), and Japan Tobacco, and the world’s largest producer of cigars, fine-cut tobacco, and tobacco papers.
Cigarette companies have been quietly shutting down other factories in the UK, for example Gallaher shut its Oldham factory in around 2000 leading to the loss of 1000 jobs, its Belfast plant in 1988 and its Port Talbot cigar factory in Wales in 1994. Imperial closed its cigar factory in Bristol in 2010. Imperial closed its Sheffield factory in 1989 and its Liverpool factory in 2006.
Octavius Hunt are an industrial smokes and pyrotechnics manufacturer and now the only match manufacturer left in the UK and make specialist matches such as windproof and waterproof matches – http://www.octaviushunt.co.uk
Snuff, hand-rolling tobacco and pipe tobacco is still made in Britain, for example by:
McChrystal’s snuff is made in the UK. In an email of 16th February 2015, they confirmed this to me and pointed out that they have been making snuff in the UK for 90 years – http://www.mcchrystals.co.uk
Samuel Gawith, make snuff and pipe tobacco in Kendal in the Lake District of Cumbria, England. They confirmed to me by email on 16th February 2015 that they still manufacture their snuff and pipe tobacco in England – http://www.samuelgawith.co.uk
There’s an interesting article about Samuel Gawith & Company here.
Gawith Hoggarth also manufactures snuff in Kendal in Cumbria (Gawith Hoggarth and Samuel Gawith are separate businesses originally set up by 2 brothers in the 1790s). As well as snuff, Gawith Hoggarth also make hand roiling tobacco, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco – http://www.gawithhoggarth.co.uk
Wikipedia suggests some of the above suppliers make under contract for others too and that brands such as ‘Mullins and Westbury‘ and ‘Jaxons‘ are made under contract by one of the above, and so they could be made in England if that is correct, but do check.
J. and H. Wilson (they don’t seem to have a website) have been part of Imperial Tobacco since 1953. The snuff was being made by their brand Ogden’s in Sheffield until 1989 or possibly much earlier, when production was moved to Ogden’s in Liverpool. The Liverpool factory was closed in 2006. The Liverpool factory also made pipe tobacco and Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco. The Hedges snuff brand also belongs to Imperial Tobacco I think. Although I have not been able to confirm it, I think Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco, Hedges snuff and J and H Wilson snuff are already foreign made.
There are also some pipes still made in the UK. The ones I know of, and there may be more, are:
Possibly Dr Plumb pipes, GBD pipes, and Orlik pipes by Cadogan are made in the UK, but you should check as I am not sure (lots of websites describe them as made in London or made in England, but that does not necessarily mean they are) – http://www.cadogan-gifts.co.uk
The story of Dunhill pipes is confusing and seemingly rather secretive on the internet. Possibly Alfred Dunhill Limited pipes and smoking accessories are still made and sold under the name The White Spot (their website is discreetly branded Alfred Dunhill at the bottom of the page). It is even possibly they still make some products in England (on the internet I found reference to a factory in London; it is suggested that Parker Hardcastle Briar Pipes Mfrs. and Dunhill Pipes & Smokers Requisites share the same the address and telephone number – is this still a factory though?). It is also suggested on the internet that Parker Hardcastle Briar and Pipes / Parker of London (selling Dunhill seconds) are still manufactured in London. It is also said that Ben Wade pipes, now belonging to Duncan Briars, are made there too. One website of Ben Wade pipes it says ‘every pipe is stamped “Ben Wade, Made in London, England”‘. Dunhill cigarettes are made by British American Tobacco (BAT) so must be foreign made. I am no expert on pipes and found the Dunhill and related companies provenance impossible to be certain of, so do check before buying.
Pipedia lists numerous British pipe brands and makers, but of course just having a British origin does not necessarily mean the pipe brands listed there are actually made in England.
If you use or are thinking of using electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes or ECs or electric cigarettes) and vaping (as it is currently referred to – an alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products), like any tobacco product, you’ll want to ensure safety and quality and buying British made would give you this.
Liberty Flights XO E-liquid is made in Britain, using UK sourced pharmaceutical grade nicotine and bases. The Original Range of liquid is imported. As they do not say that the e-cigarettes they sell are made in the UK, I assume the devices themselves are foreign made. There’s a video from the company and another explaining how e-cigarettes work below, which uses a Liberty Flights product (this video does not seem to be working so I have added another below which explains how e-cigs work) – http://www.liberty-flights.co.uk
Vapouriz say on their website “All our E-Liquid is manufactured by us, here in the UK in ISO Class 7 Certified Clean rooms”. Again, as no mention is made of where their actual e-cigarettes are made, I assume they are foreign made – http://www.vapouriz.co.uk
88 Vape (Vape Nation Limited) make some of their e-liquids in the UK, but others are made in China (check the packaging). Their accessories and e-cigarettes are made in China. For example 88 Vape fancy flavours, like say blueberry, are made in the UK, as is their rolling leaf e-liquid. They say in their website “At Vapanation we have taken the step from being a successful Brand Owner and Importer to high quality Manufacturer in the UK. Products are available from their website and I have also seen them in Poundland – http://www.88vape.co.uk
SMOKO e-liquids are UK made. They say on their website “e-liquids with the highest quality, pharmacutical-grade ingredients all sourced from within the EU, then they are mixed and manufactured in the UK” and “we are proud to say all of our e-liquids are Made in the UK.” Again, their actual e-cigarettes I assume are foreign made – https://smoko.com
Freshcig say their “vapour liquid is manufactured by us in the UK within a dedicated ISO Class 8 clean room facility.” Again, their electronic cigarettes themselves are foreign made – http://www.freshcig.co.uk
Decadent Vapours are a manufacturer e-liquid. “Choose from over 150 sweet and savory flavours, all UK made” according to their website. They only sell e-liquids and not e-cigarettes – http://decadentvapours.com
Vvapour say on their website “ALL our e-liquids are completely made in the UK using sterilized equipment, certified pharmaceutical grade ingredients and without compromise.” Their actual cigarettes are presumably foreign made – http://vvapour.co.uk
UK Vapour Brands, owners of The Electronic Cigarette Company (TECC), Joyetech, Eleaf UK, Odyssey Premium Vaping System, Wismec, and Totally Wicked produce some of their e-liquids in the UK – Totally Wicked Red Label e-liquid, Diavlo e-liquid are UK made – TECC say they “only use UK manufactured pharmaceutical grade nicotine from our trusted suppliers” and their Titus CC E-Liquid, Titus ADV E-Liquid, and Totally Wicked Red Label are UK made – Odyssey Premium Vaping System e-cigarettes and e-liquids are made in the UK. Other UK Vapour Brands e-liquids and e-cigartetes appear to be foreign made.
E Liquid Emporium e-liquid is all manufactured in the UK, and includes flavours such as Golden Virginia, Strawberries and Cream, and Vanilla and Custard. Just e-liquids and not e-cigarettes – http://eliquidemporium.co.uk
“Witches‘ Brew eLiquid is manufactured from 100% UK ingredients, in our purpose built Clean Room facility in Lancashire” according to their website. As with most other suppliers their actual e-cigarettes are foreign made – http://witcheliquid.co.uk
Puritane e-cigarettes are “filled and packed in the UK” and the e-cigarettes themselves I assume made in China, whilst the liquid is made in mainland Europe. The company belongs to Fontem Ventures of the Netherlands which is part of Imperial Tobacco (although strangely this is not mentioned anywhere on their website). It says on their website “Skilfully designed and expertly created in the UK, Puritane e-cigarettes are developed by industry specialists to deliver a smooth taste tailored specifically to the British palette” which to my mind implies UK manufacture but that is not the case; they are only filled and packed in the UK – https://uk.puritane.eu/united-kingdom/home
There are plenty more e-liquids that are made in the UK but I do not know of any UK made vaporisers (actual e-cigarttes) except the Odyssey e-cigarettes mentioned above.
The above video discusses whether e-cigarettes are safe or not. There are concerns about the chemicals contained in e-cigarettes, for example in the findings talked about in this article – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/28/japan-e-cigarette-safety
Travel Tip – If you are travelling by plane with an e-cigarette you may find this link helpful – http://www.gatwick-airport-guide.co.uk/e-cigarettes.html
Also, if you are travelling with an e-cigarette – Consider taking a sealed new bottle of e-liquid, as once opened bottles may leak. Consider emptying the tank before flying. Air cabin pressure can sometimes cause tanks/clearomisers to leak. The strong sweet smell of e-liquid is annoying, even if it only leaks a little (not to mention it’s sticky and toxic). Bring your charger and plug, and an adaptor if needed. Ensure your battery fully charged so that you can turn it on as this may be required. You should not need to disassemble your EC. Place in a self-sealing see-though plastic bag and take as carry-on, as required by airport security if travelling by air. Vaping is forbidden in some countries. In Dubai for example, e-cigarettes have been confiscated during both transit and departure. There’s an interactive map here. You may need to consider an alternative, such as smoking, snuff or giving up. E-Liquid may turn dark in sunlight or possibly heat. Try to keep your EC upright when travelling around generally and consider a case of some kind to keep it clean and perhaps catch at least part of any spillages.
Whilst I advocate manufacturing should take place in the UK, tobacco itself is all grown abroad, because tobacco has never been grown commercially in the UK. For example, Toque snuff is manufactured in the UK and the tobacco comes from America, Poland, Africa, India and Pakistan.
Increased anti-smoking legislation and declining tobacco sales in the UK may be partly to blame for cigarette companies closing their UK factories, but shifting production outside of the UK is socially irresponsible and just about profit with no care for the community. The UK remains a very large and very profitable market for companies like Imperial Tobacco and JTI Gallaher.
British smokers should stand up and say they want to buy tobacco products that are made in Britain. Non smokers will understand that closing factories only harms British jobs and the British economy.
Politicians should intervene and stop the closures of cigarette factories. Give companies subsidies or tax refunds. Don’t shy away from saving peoples’ livelihoods and communities because you want to stop smoking. It’ll carry on anyway. The JTI Gallaher factory in Ballymena is among the largest employers in Northern Ireland.
Perhaps Unions and management could buy the factories? Let’s look at imaginative ways to save these jobs both now and in the long term. Nationalise the industry? Stop foreign companies buying British brands and then closing the British factories down!
It’s not too late to save the 2 factories I have written about above. Write to JTI Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco and tell them why you want production to remain in the UK. Start an #SaveTheBritishTobaccoIndustry on twitter. Write to your MP. Discuss the issues over a nice a nice cuppa. But please protest against these closures.