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Brussels, 02 November 2021: The European Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2021 analyses how 16 countries in the WHO European Region and the institutions of the European Union are affected by tobacco industry, and how far they have progressed in the implementation of Article 5.3 and its Guidelines that were unanimously adopted.

Big Tobacco has been influencing policy to its advantage for decades – postponing, protesting, promoting untruths, playing the victim and pushing new technologies – in order to disrupt tobacco control policies. Their tactics are not new, and evidently, the tobacco industry is as active as ever in lobbying European institutions. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires all Parties to safeguard public health policy against interference from tobacco companies or their representatives. Guidelines and recommendations have been issued to address this issue, ensure integrity in the policy process, and increase transparency. This report analyses how 16 countries have implemented these recommendations and found significant disparities across European countries.

Recommendations

Countries should fully implement the Guidelines to Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC and especially take measures to:

  • Limit interactions between the tobacco industry and public officials to those strictly necessary for regulation
  • Make those interactions that are strictly necessary completely transparent, e.g. conducted as public hearings or through the disclosure of records of meetings
  • Implement comprehensive transparency rules, including the disclosure of records of interactions with the tobacco industry and a register for lobbying activities and related budgets
  • Reject any voluntary or otherwise non-binding agreements with the tobacco industry, e.g. for the implementation or enforcement of tobacco control measures
  • Either prohibit any tobacco industry activities in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or ensure that any contributions from or partnerships with the tobacco industry are rejected by public institutions
  • Prohibit or at least make fully transparent all donations or other contributions from the tobacco industry to political parties,
    candidates and campaigns
  • Stop any incentives, tax exemptions or other privileges (e.g. subsidies) for the tobacco industry
  • Support civil society in its watchdog role

The report has been produced by Laura Graen with the support and contribution from Smoke Free Partnership (SFP), and endorsed by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), European Public Heallth Alliance (EPHA), Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL).

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