Tobacco industry success in preventing regulation of secondhand smoke in Latin America: the “Latin Project”
- Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Cardiovascular Research Institute and Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
- Correspondence to: Professor Stanton A Glantz, PhD, University of California, Box 0130, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130, USA;
- Received 20 May 2002
- Accepted 10 September 2002
- Revised 17 August 2002
Objective: To examine the tobacco industry’s strategy to avoid regulations on secondhand smoke exposure in Latin America.
Methods: Systematic search of tobacco industry documents available through the internet. All available materials, including confidential reports regarding research, lobbying, and internal memoranda exchanged between the tobacco industry representatives, tobacco industry lawyers, and key players in Latin America.
Results: In Latin America, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, working through the law firm Covington & Burling, developed a network of well placed physicians and scientists through their “Latin Project” to generate scientific arguments minimising secondhand smoke as a health hazard, produce low estimates of exposure, and to lobby against smoke-free workplaces and public places. The tobacco industry’s role was not disclosed.
Conclusions: The strategies used by the industry have been successful in hindering development of public health programmes on secondhand smoke. Latin American health professionals need to be aware of this industry involvement and must take steps to counter it to halt the tobacco epidemic in Latin America.
- BAT, British American Tobacco
- CATANA, C.A. Tabacalera Nacional
- CIAR, Center for Indoor Air Research
- CIESPAL, Céntro de Estudios Superiores en Comunicación para América Latina
- ETS, environmental tobacco smoke
- IAQ, indoor air quality
- PAHO, Pan American Health Organization
- PMI, Philip Morris International
- SHS, secondhand smoke