Research focus

  • Development and human rights challenges in tobacco farming and other industries
  • Child labour
  • Human rights due diligence
  • The human right to health
  • Human rights and tobacco control
  • Political interference and lobbying tactics of big corporations
  • Sustainable development
  • Tobacco industry’s use of free trade agreements and Investor-State Dispute Settlement measures (ISDS)

Research methods

  • Analysis of peer-reviewed literature
  • Analysis of data provided by FAOSTAT, COMTRADE and other databases
  • Analysis of newspaper articles and documents such as companies’ annual reports and extracts of commercial registers, including internal tobacco industry documents
  • Interviews and participant observation

Previous and current clients

Among my clients for research consultancies are mainly non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations. For example the World Health Organization Europe, Unfairtobacco, the German NGO Forum Environment and Development, Public Eye and the Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice.



Transnational Tobacco Companies and the Mechanism of Externalization: A Realist Synthesis. Mlinarić, Martin, Michael Schreuders, Laura Graen, and Stephan Lessenich. In: Health & Place, 14 November 2019, 102240.

Graen, Laura: New avenues for tobacco control: Links to sustainable development and human rights. In: “European tobacco use: Trends report 2019”. World Health Organization Europe. Copenhagen, Denmark.


Graen, Laura: Tobacco industry: Truly transformed or using SDGs as a smokescreen for old strategies? In: “Analysis: Highjacking the SDGs? The Private Sector and the Sustainable Development Goals”. Brot für die Welt, German NGO Forum on Environment and Development, Unfairtobacco, Global Policy Forum and MISEREOR. Berlin, Germany.

Graen, Laura: Does tobacco control harm tobacco growers? In: Tobacco Control Playbook. World Health Organization Europe. Copenhagen, Denmark.


Graen, Laura: Tobacco | Decent work: How tobacco control contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8. SDG-Factsheet No. 4. Unfairtobacco.

Graen, Laura: Tobacco | Education: How tobacco control contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4. SDG-Factsheet No. 3. Unfairtobacco.


Graen, Laura: Ungenutzte Ressourcen: Tabaksteuern und nachhaltige Entwicklung. Unfairtobacco. (Title: Untapped resources: tobacco taxes and sustainable development, only available in German.)

Graen, Laura: Tobacco and global Partnership: How tobacco control and development goal 17 fit together. SDG-Factsheet No. 2. Unfairtobacco.

Graen, Laura: Tobacco | Poverty | Hunger: How Tobacco Control can contribute to achieving Development Goals 1 and 2. SDG-Factsheet No. 1. Unfairtobacco.

Koivusalo, Meri; Graen, Laura: New ISDS proposal changes to the TTIP are not sufficient to protect public health. Factsheet. Health and Trade Network.


Graen, Laura: Strategien der Tabakindustrie: Werbekampagnen, Klagen, politische Einflussnahme. Unfairtobacco. (Title: Tobacco industry strategies: Marketing campaigns, legal challenges, political interference; only available in German.)

Graen, Laura: Tobacco industry confronted with child labour. In: TC News and Views Online. BMJ Tobacco Control Blog.


Graen, Laura: Doppelte Last. Tabak im Globalen Süden. Unfairtobacco. (English: Double burden. Tobacco in the Global South.)

Otanez, Marty; Graen, Laura: ‘Gentlemen, Why not Suppress the Prices?’ Global Leaf Demand and Rural Livelihoods in Malawi. In: Leppan, Wardie; Lecours, Natacha; Buckles, Daniel (editors): Tobacco Control and Tobacco Farming. Separating Myth from Reality. IDRC and Anthem Press.

Graen, Laura: Tabakproduktion in Afrika. Knebelverträge im Trend. Unfairtobacco. (Title: Tobacco production in Africa. Growing trend of adhesion contracts; only available in German.)


Graen, Laura: Opening Malawi’s tobacco black box. A study in economic anthropology. Magisterarbeit (MA thesis). Department of Anthropology and Philosophy, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

Graen, Laura: How is it like to be a tobacco worker in Malawi? (video clip). Unfairtobacco.


Graen, Laura; Otañez, Marty: Malawi: Tobacco Versus Development. In: Bulletin of the Framework Convention Alliance. Issue 110.

Graen, Laura: Zeit zu Handeln: Factsheet über institutionelle und individuelle Handlungsoptionen. Unfairtobacco. (Title: Time to act: factsheet on institutional and individual options for change; only available in German.)


Graen, Laura: Soziale Lage der Tabakbauern und Pachtarbeiter am Beispiel Malawi. In: Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (ed.): Umweltrisiko Tabak – von der Pflanze zur Kippe. Heidelberg 2009: p. 35 (Additional contribution: pictures on p. 17f)

Graen, Laura; Otañez, Marty: Factsheet on Child Labour in Malawi’s Tobacco Sector.

Graen, Laura: Kodi mtengo wa fodya ndi chiyani? Was ist der Preis des Tabaks? Audio feature on tobacco workers’ rights violations in Malawi. Unfairtobacco. Published on CD.

Unfairtobacco: Exhibition “Big Tobacco” (Co-conceptualization, contribution of pictures and texts)