>> Investors just can't give up tobacco. Only one major European investor agreeing to divest tobacco stocks after 18 months of global campaigning. More than 30 Australian pension funds have gone tobacco free. But the habit is harder to break in Europe, according to Reuters Chief Funds Correspondent, Simon Jessop.
>> We've gone out to a whole load of asset managers in the States, in Europe, to ask them their view on tobacco divestment. None of them have said that they would be willing to follow in the footsteps of the Australian pension schemes and divest completely. From their perspective it's about creating products that give investors such as pension schemes the opportunity to invest or not in a tobacco stock.
>> Tobacco free portfolio's one European recruit, a significant one, the French life insurer AXA. Its policy now prevention, rather than cure.>> AXA is really throwing down the gauntlet, and that was what was missing, arguably, from the broader divestment campaign. In the years gone by, you did have endowments, university endowments, charities of health organizations that deliberately seek to exclude tobacco from their investments.
But when you get a mainstream investor, it's an insurance company so it is unique in that sense. It's not like an asset manager per say. But yet, still it is a watershed moment when they've decided to divest.>> The campaign wants $60 billion invested in tobacco divested. But with companies required by law to make as much money as they can, investing in smoking may be as hard to give up as the unhealthy habit itself.