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Tobacco industry has least influence on the UK, watchdog ranking reveals

Tobacco industry has least influence on the UK, watchdog ranking reveals

This slow progress is largely because tobacco industry influence over government policy is hampering global efforts to stamp out smoking, the WHO warned. “The tobacco industry pushes the boundaries and will continue to undermine and thwart tobacco control efforts,” said Dr. Mary Assunta, lead author of the Stop report and head of global research and

This slow progress is largely because tobacco industry influence over government policy is hampering global efforts to stamp out smoking, the WHO warned.

“The tobacco industry pushes the boundaries and will continue to undermine and thwart tobacco control efforts,” said Dr. Mary Assunta, lead author of the Stop report and head of global research and advocacy at the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control. 

“The key is entirely in the hands of governments, who need to implement protection policies,” she said. “They have to show political will and introduce concrete measures to curb influence.” 

Dr. Assunta added that the single most effective intervention against undue meddling is to “strictly” limit interactions between civil servants and the tobacco industry, so that they only communicate when governments need “to control, to regulate or to supervise”. 

She said this was the opposite of the current situation in Japan, where the government owns about a third of the company Japan Tobacco. 

“So there is a conflict – one arm [of government] is looking to promote the tobacco business, while the health arm is looking to limit tobacco use,” Dr. Assunta said. “When there is a clash of these two [interests], it seems the economic side is ahead.”

In the new interference index, Stop found that “wooing” of senior government officials was “rampant across regions”, with tobacco companies aggressively targeting departments of finance, commerce and trade to lobby for influence over government policy. 

It accuses the industry of using donations and awards to obtain endorsement from senior officials. 





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