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The following electronic only articles are published in conjunction with this issue of Tobacco Control.
Tobacco industry successfully prevented tobacco control legislation in Argentina
E M Sebrié, J Barnoya, E J Pérez-Stable, S A Glantz
Objective: To evaluate how transnational tobacco companies, working through their local affiliates, influenced tobacco control policymaking in Argentina between 1966 and 2005.
Methods: Analysis of internal tobacco industry documents, local newspapers and magazines, internet resources, bills from the Argentinean National Congress Library, and interviews with key individuals in Argentina.
Results: Transnational tobacco companies (Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Lorillard, and RJ Reynolds International) have been actively influencing public health policymaking in Argentina since the early 1970s. As in other countries, in 1977 the tobacco industry created a weak voluntary self regulating code to avoid strong legislated restrictions on advertising. In addition to direct lobbying by the tobacco companies, these efforts involved use of third party allies, public relations campaigns, and scientific and medical consultants. During the 1980s and 1990s efforts to pass comprehensive tobacco control legislation intensified, but the organised tobacco industry prevented its enactment. There has been no national activity to decrease exposure to secondhand smoke.
Conclusions: The tobacco industry, working through its local subsidiaries, has subverted meaningful tobacco control legislation in Argentina using the same strategies as in the USA and other countries. As a result, tobacco control in Argentina remains governed by a national law that is weak and restricted in its scope.
Tobacco industry consumer research on socially acceptable cigarettes
P M Ling, S A Glantz
Objective: To describe tobacco industry consumer research to inform the development of more “socially acceptable” cigarette products since the 1970s.
Methods: Analysis of previously secret tobacco industry documents.
Results: 28 projects to develop more socially acceptable cigarettes were identified from Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, British American Tobacco, and Lorillard tobacco companies. Consumer research and concept testing consistently demonstrated that many smokers feel strong social pressure not to smoke, and this pressure increased with exposure to smoking restrictions. Tobacco companies attempted to develop more socially acceptable cigarettes with less visible sidestream smoke or less odour. When presented in theory, these product concepts were very attractive to important segments of the smoking population. However, almost every product developed was unacceptable in actual product tests or test markets. Smokers reported the complete elimination of secondhand smoke was necessary to satisfy non-smokers. Smokers have also been generally unwilling to sacrifice their own smoking satisfaction for the benefit of others. Many smokers prefer smoke-free environments to cigarettes that produce less secondhand smoke.
Conclusions: Concerns about secondhand smoke and clean indoor air policies have a powerful effect on the social acceptability of smoking. Historically, the tobacco industry has been unable to counter these effects by developing more socially acceptable cigarettes. These data suggest that educating smokers about the health dangers of secondhand smoke and promoting clean indoor air policies has been difficult for the tobacco industry to counter with new products, and that every effort should be made to pursue these strategies.
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