Large tobacco companies have been using marketing tactics which allow them to keep cigarettes affordable for the poorest Smokers, researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London have found.

What tactics are they using?

Introducing cheaper brands, price-marking and creating smaller packet sizes have been undermining efforts to reduce overall smoking rates.

More smokers are indeed switching to cheaper products, so while total sales of tobacco fell, sales of the cheapest and roll-your-own cigarettes increased.

Aren't there fewer smokers in Britain now?

Whilst the number of smokers is declining, recent data shows 23% of those in manual employment smoke compared to 12% of those in professional or clerical roles.

Prices are also being altered to minimise the abruption of tax increases, the study which was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research added.

What needs to be done?

The researchers recommend a further increase in tax on roll-your-own cigarettes to bring it more in line with the tax on cigarettes and are also calling for minimum excise taxes to be maintained in line with inflation and restricting brands to just one variant.

Additionally, the number of times that the tobacco industry can alter pricing should be limited to with increased taxation implemented.

More needs to be done to prevent cheap products from enticing children into smoking and causing people who would otherwise quit to keep smoking, they add.

The researchers also mentioned that the upcoming budget is an ideal opportunity for the government to address these issues.

Why is exploiting the poor nothing new?

Exploiting the Poor is a considerably large part of the success of many multinational organisations.

Nestle, known for owning food brands such as KitKat and Maggi Noodles, is a key example. Nestle is the third largest buyer of cocoa from the Ivory Coast which is home to 40% of the world's cocoa supply. However unjust labour practices meant that there were roughly 109,000 child labourers working in hazardous conditions on cocoa farms, with 15,000 children between 9 and 12 years old, many from the impoverished, bordering country of Mali who had been tricked or sold into slavery, often for a mere $30.

The company is also notorious for its aggressive marketing of infant formula in developing countries such as reports of sales representatives being dressed up as nurses and send into maternity wards for free. The formula, however, interfered with lactating so when mothers left the hospital they could no longer breastfeed. Nestle then went on to charge for the formula meaning that the mothers who were previously using it could no longer afford it as well as the fact that the formula had to be mixed with water and served in a feeding bottle, both of which could be easily contaminated and cause deadly infections.

Whilst there was a global movement boycotting Nestle which lead to little or no action, the organisation and other chocolate manufacturers agreed to end the use of abusive and forced child labour on cocoa farms by the summer of 2005, but they failed to do so.

Coca-Cola is another everyday brand which is ruthless in its exploitation of the poor. In South Asia, the company destroys local agriculture by privatising the country's water resources and leading to water shortages and a subsequent decline in agricultural activity for the local communities. The local communities also suffered from scabs, eye problems and stomach aches due to the water becoming contaminated with high chloride and bacteria levels.

In Colombia it has gone as far as killing people who protested against the labour practices which they were subjected to by the company and kidnapping, torturing and detaining those who are in or show an interest in joining trade unions.

Back home, they are known to be one of the world's most racist and discriminatory employers in the world with 2,000 Black employees in America suing the company for racial inequalities in pay and promotions.

What do we need to do to stop the exploitation of the poor by multinational companies around the world?

First of all, how many of us think when we are grabbing a Diet Coke and KitKat with our lunch about where what we consume is coming from? Probably not many, we tend to choose based on what we think will taste okay, suits our dietary requirements and is reasonably priced. It's about time that changed.

If you knew that there were children on your street being forced into modern-day slavery, would you turn a blind eye to it?

If you knew certain products that were affordable but ultimately bad for your health were only being sold in corner shops in deprived areas, would you not care?

If you knew that a local business had vowed to change their practices yet done nothing about it, would you not force them to implement them?

So why do we not care when large organisations are systematically and institutionally exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of our society?