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The taste of smoke: tobacco industry strategies to prevent the prohibition of additives in tobacco products in Brazil

Abstract

Background The tobacco industry (TI) uses several strategies to attract new consumers, including using additives in tobacco products, which makes tobacco especially attractive to youth. Based on scientific evidence and the principles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA, for the name in Portuguese), published the Collegiate Board Resolution (RDC, for the name in Portuguese) 14/2012 in 2012, prohibiting the addition of substances that enhance the flavour and taste of tobacco products in order to make them more attractive. In response, the TI used various strategies to prevent RDC 14/2012 from entering into force. At the time, the Brazilian additive ban was the most comprehensive in the world as it included a ban on menthol.

Objectives This paper analyses the arguments and strategies used by the TI to prevent the implementation of the additives ban.

Methods Review of published articles, reports, legislation and legislative activity, internal TI documents, media stories and other documents to describe TI’s reaction to the ban.

Results The results show that the TI used some well-known strategies to delay or cancel the entering into force of the resolution. For example, the TI attempted political interference, used litigation and commissioned studies with findings that questioned the resolution’s rationale. The TI strategies used in Brazil are similar to those used at the global level to oppose other tobacco control measures.

Conclusions TI successfully delayed the most comprehensive additive ban in the world using its usual tactics, despite the fact that none of the arguments presented by the TI had an acceptable scientific basis or evidence.

  • tobacco industry
  • tobacco product additives
  • tobacco flavours
  • smoking prevention
  • who framework convention on tobacco control (fctc)
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