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Tobacco industry strategy to undermine tobacco control in Finland
  1. H Hiilamo
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Heikki Hiilamo
 National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Lintulahdenkuja 4, 00530 Helsinki, Finland;


Objective: To identify and explain tobacco industry strategy in undermining tobacco control measures in Finland and results of these interferences in tobacco policy development during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Methods: Tobacco industry documents, which have been publicly available on the internet as a result of litigation in the USA, were analysed. Documents were sought by Finland and by names of organisations and tobacco control activists. Documents were accessed and assessed between September 2000 and November 2002. Tactics of the tobacco industry activities were categorised as presented by Saloojee and Dagli.

Results: The international tobacco companies utilised similar strategies in Finland as in other industrial markets to fight tobacco control and legislation, the health advocacy movement, and litigation. These activities slowed down the development and implementation of the Tobacco Act in Finland. However, despite the extensive pressure, the industry was not able to prevent the most progressive tobacco legislation in Europe from being passed and coming into force in Finland in 1977 and in 1995.

Conclusion: Denying the health hazards caused by tobacco—despite indisputable scientific evidence—decreased the credibility of the tobacco industry. Strategy of denial was falsely chosen, as health advocacy groups were active both in society and the parliamentary system. The strong influence of the tobacco industry may have in fact increased the visibility of tobacco control in Finland as the litigation process was also drawing attention to negative health effects of tobacco. Therefore the tobacco industry did not manage to convince public opinion. However, the tobacco industry did obtain experience in Finland in how to object to tobacco control measures.

  • tobacco industry
  • Finland
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • BAT, British American Tobacco
  • CCC, Central Chamber of Commerce
  • EEMA, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and African countries
  • EPA, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • EU, European Union
  • ETS, environmental tobacco smoke
  • HBI, Healthy Buildings International
  • IFAQ, in-flight air quality test
  • NMA, National Manufacturers Association
  • PM, Philip Morris
  • RJR, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • SAK, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions
  • TKL, Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers

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