About Smoke Screen

Smoke Screen delves into a shadowy world of corporate espionage in the tobacco industry and exposes a 200-strong spy network stretching across South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Our year-long investigation revealing the web of corrupt practices at the heart of Big Tobacco began when we lifted the lid on tactics used by the multibillion-pound company British American Tobacco (BAT). Using leaked documents, we uncovered a shady world of spies and smugglers operating within southern Africa’s violent tobacco market between 2012 and 2016.

For the first time, we’ve been able to put together an almost complete picture of the allegedly unlawful and anti-competitive practices that BAT employed.

Much of the evidence we discovered has never been released in the public domain – until now.

Investigative journalism isn’t a quick fix; it usually takes a lot of time to get results and even more effort to use those results to drive change. That’s why we keep stepping up to expose the failing systems, secret agendas and corporate wrongdoing that are driving inequality in our society.

We publish with news partners and work with organisations worldwide, from major international media to local and specialist outlets, to raise awareness of what needs to change.

But most importantly, we make sure the evidence gets to the people who can use it.

Hear more about our projects, stories and events, including how the evidence we bring to light helps drive change

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