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Tobacco industry responses to global tobacco control

A new study published in Tobacco Control examines how Philip Morris (PM) and British American Tobacco (BAT) interpreted the relationship between tobacco control non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the policymaking process that ultimately resulted in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).  It also examines how the companies have responded to global tobacco control policymaking.  Findings are based on analyses of 506 internal tobacco industry documents released from U.S. litigation and posted online at the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.


  • ·         A prominent public relations firm advised PM to seek access to treaty negotiations through pro-industry and non-tobacco control NGOs.  The firm also advised PM that influencing the development of FCTC implementation protocols was more important than derailing the treaty.
  • ·         PM and BAT used several strategies, including cultivating relationships with tobacco-friendly governments, to try to weaken the FCTC before its ratification.
  • ·         PM and BAT have used national- and regional-level strategies, including use of free-trade agreements, to undermine the FCTC since its ratification.
  • ·         PM and BAT use corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to counter their negative image and enhance their credibility as responsible corporate citizens.

Key Messages:

  • ·         There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.
  • ·         FCTC Article 5.3 requires Parties protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

Additional resources:

Full citation: Gonzalez M, Green LW, Glantz SA. Through tobacco industry eyes: civil society and the FCTC process from Philip Morris and British American Tobacco’s perspectives. Tobacco Control. 2011 Jun 8.

A link to the article abstract [English only] can be found at:

Tobacco Control is an internationally peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide. The journal is for health professionals and others in tobacco control and is a publication of the British Medical Journal.

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