Author: Stella Bialous
The tobacco industry developed a comprehensive public relations and strategic plan in preparation to oppose, delay or weaken the text of the FCTC. A part of this strategy was to, directly and through front groups, attempt to influence Member States’ delegations and shifting the debate from health to allegedly economic losses associated with tobacco control. Once the FCTC entered into force, the tobacco industry intensified efforts to counter progress in implementing the FCTC. For example, the industry increased the use of litigation as a tactic to oppose tobacco control. The industry continued to make use of front groups and partnerships, including with Intergovernmental Organizations, but the type of front groups and partnerships adjusted to progress being made in implementing the FCTC, for example, increase utilization of customs and tax-related groups. The tobacco industry continues to postulate that it is a stakeholder in tobacco control and as such it should participate in policy development. Therefore, the industry is making efforts to reframe Article 5.3 in order to have access to decision making processes. Gaps in the implementation of Article 5.3 continue to provide the tobacco industry with access to policy makers, and with avenues of influence, increasingly focused on the Protocol. Only implementation, across government sectors, of the recommendations from Article 5.3 Guidelines will effectively protect the FCTC from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
Read more: WHO FCTC Secretariat