There is still no law that limits the presence of tobacco companies and excludes them during developing or regulating tobacco products in Jordan. Tobacco companies are part of the Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization (JSMO) committee, which is responsible for the standards and technical regulations of tobacco products.
The government approves tobacco industry interactions and accepts, supports or endorses policy or legislation drafted by or in collaboration with the tobacco industry. There is also a permanent tobacco industry committee related to standards and technical regulations, so the opportunity for the tobacco industry to increase its influence on policy is increasing.
Circulated bans from the Minister of Health to all government institutions to ban any form of interactions with tobacco companies, including accepting funds/support from the tobacco industry in line with FCTC Article 5.3, were issued. In spite of that, tobacco companies continue to participate in community CSR activities and provide their support through local charities/NGOs, targeting youth through their college funds/training initiatives and internship programs.
The government of Jordan still accommodates requests from the tobacco industry for a longer implementation period of the law as separation measurements in restaurants are still in force, as well as the postponement of banning indoor waterpipe usage in restaurants and cafes. We recorded in this report benefits given to tobacco companies, such as advertisement platforms on Duty Free shops and online platforms.
Government officials are engaging unnecessarily with tobacco companies, with one such example involving Japan Tobacco International (JTI) receiving the Environmental Stewardship Award from the ministry of environment and the World Bank for its usage of direct Solar Steam Generation in its tobacco factory in Amman, Jordan.
The government of Jordan and other agencies do not publicly disclose meetings/interactions with the tobacco industry. It is worth noting this since the code of conduct for governmental workers calls for them to disclose any conflict of interest or previous work with the industry. However, this doesn’t apply to parliamentarians.
There is no evidence that the government prohibits contributions from the tobacco industry to political parties, candidates or campaigns, nor is there a law that prohibits government officials and relatives from holding positions in tobacco companies. As a result, some of the house of representative members and ministers have shares in tobacco companies, or own restaurants that serve tobacco products (waterpipes).
In March 2019, the trial on fake-brand cigarette cases began in Jordan: 29 former officials and businesspersons, including a former minister, were called for questioning at the country’s state security court. They are accused of organizing, manufacturing, and importing fake brand cigarettes, which cost the government an estimated $200 million in lost fees and taxes.
The Minister of Health made the decision to ban all forms of sponsorship activities, including CSR of the tobacco industry, with the government. This decision was shared with all governmental agencies. The Ministry of Health (MOH), in collaboration with WHO, has conducted several awareness and policy activities, including workshops on pictorial health warnings, a ban on smoking indoors, as well as initiated a draft for the new public health law. To reduce shisha consumption, no new licenses were issued to cafes and restaurants as of 2017. The MOH drafted FCTC Article 5.3 guidelines, which have yet to be adopted.
- The industry and its front groups’ influence, as they continue to be part of policy-making committees.
- The lack of laws or regulations that demand transparency by disclosing all meetings and necessary interactions between government agencies with the industry.
- Alarming level of tobacco industry interaction with governmental employees.
- Tobacco industry CSR activities and their support in communities, especially youth initiatives among other community base projects.
- Certain governmental institutions are prone to having more interaction with the industry, such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization (JSMO) among others.
Learn more about tobacco industry interference in this country.Download a Country Fact Sheet