Objective To analyse the models Philip Morris (PM) and British American Tobacco (BAT) used internally to understand tobacco control non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their relationship to the global tobacco control policy-making process that resulted in the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Methods Analysis of internal tobacco industry documents in the Legacy Tobacco Document Library.
Results PM contracted with Mongoven, Biscoe, and Duchin, Inc. (MBD, a consulting firm specialising in NGO surveillance) as advisors. MBD argued that because NGOs are increasingly linked to epistemic communities, NGOs could insert themselves into the global policy-making process and influence the discourse surrounding the treaty-making process. MBD advised PM to insert itself into the policy-making process, mimicking NGO behaviour. BAT's Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (CORA) department argued that global regulation emerged from the perception (by NGOs and governments) that the industry could not regulate itself, leading to BAT advocating social alignment and self-regulation to minimise the impact of the FCTC. Most efforts to block or redirect the FCTC failed.
Conclusions PM and BAT articulated a global policy-making environment in which NGOs are key, non-state stakeholders, and as a result, internationalised some of their previous national-level strategies. After both companies failed to prevent the FCTC, their strategies began to align. Multinational corporations have continued to successfully employ some of the strategies outlined in this paper at the local and national level while being formally excluded from ongoing FCTC negotiations at the global level.
- civil society
- British American Tobacco
- Philip Morris
- non-governmental organization
- epistemic communities
- public policy
- health-related treaties
- qualitative study
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Funding This research was funded by NCI grants CA-113710 and CA-87472. The funding agency played no role in the selection of topic, conduct of the research or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.