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The tobacco industry has a decades-long history of opposing any measure that attempts to regulate its product, its marketing, pricing or social acceptability.1 2 The entry into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005, and the approval, by FCTC parties, of the Guidelines for Implementation of Article 5.3 in 2008 (to protect tobacco control policies from the ‘commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry’), have not yet served to completely prevent the tobacco industry from interfering with tobacco control policies.3
FCTC parties adopted, at the sixth Conference of the Parties in 2014, decision FCTC/COP6(15)4 calling for an independent expert group to assess the impact of the WHO FCTC and to report their findings at the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7) in 2016. The decision called for a report on tobacco industry responses to the FCTC as one of three reviews commissioned by the Convention Secretariat. This commentary draws from the report originally prepared for COP7,1 updated to reflect additional evidence of tobacco industry interference since.
The tobacco industry’s response to the WHO FCTC
The report of the expert group assessing the impact of the FCTC noted that ‘aggressive action by the global tobacco industry to oppose tobacco control measures and to undermine Article 5.3’ remains an obstacle to the implementation of the FCTC.5
The tobacco industry has opposed the FCTC since its inception, proposing alternative, voluntary policies and frameworks, and influencing a few selected countries to intervene in their favour.1 One of the industry’s options, facing the inevitability of the FCTC, was to engage with government and promote itself as part of the solution. Once the FCTC was adopted in May 2003, and entered into force in 2005, the tobacco industry responded with efforts to avoid legislation, weaken legislation that was approved and/or interfere …
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