The tobacco industry is trying to block life-saving policies during a pandemic, when health should be the number one priority.

Governments have the power to end this interference.

If they don’t take timely action, people will continue to die.

21,918

lives every day.

666,667

lives every month.

8,000,000

lives every year.

Based on WHO estimates that more than 8 million lives are lost to tobacco per year.

The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index shows which governments are leading the way in protecting policies from Big Tobacco’s meddling, and which governments can do better.

Regional Reports

In-depth analyses of tobacco industry interference across regions

Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2021 Regional Reports Covers

These seven indicators highlight stories of government resistance and industry interference.

Policy Development

When the tobacco industry interferes with government efforts to develop tobacco control policies.

Successful Resistance

Strengthening Article 5.3

Botswana published its Tobacco Control Bill in March 2021, which includes Article 5.3—despite a lengthy delay between the passage of the law and the country’s ratification of the WHO FCTC.

Industry Interference

Allowing Industry Lobbying

Panama’s National Assembly is permeable to tobacco industry interference because the industry is allowed to participate in the discussions of bills in the various committees. The health committee of the National Assembly amended 36 articles in a bill without going through the review of civil society or the health authority, and approved the bill immediately amid accusations of bribery and extortion.

"Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) Activity

The tobacco industry spends millions of dollars on so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities each year.

Successful Resistance

Banning CSR Activities

All tobacco-related CSR activities are banned in Iran and there was no evidence of such activities occurring.

Industry Interference

Accepting Donations

In the Philippines, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp and/or LT Group, Inc., conducted 34 out of the 36 monitored tobacco-related charity activities in 2020. Most of the donations were done in partnership with local government units, the Philippine National Police, as well as local government executives and representatives in Congress. Public officials contravene a government circular when they endorse such charity.

Benefits to the Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry enjoys many types of benefits. Direct benefits include privileges, incentives, tax exemptions or endorsements to encourage their business.

Successful Resistance

Avoiding Industry Accommodations

The government did not accommodate requests from the tobacco industry for a longer time frame for implementation or postponement of the tobacco control law in Norway.

Industry Interference

Providing State Benefits

In the Dominican Republic, the tobacco industry receives a plethora of benefits as the State is projected as a “tobacco-state” where the global tobacco trend suffers a regression. The industry receives benefits such as tax exemptions, state-backed international lobbying, local legislation in its favor and the ability to interfere in local health governance.

Government Interaction with the Industry

Unnecessary interactions occur when top level government officials attend social functions hosted by tobacco companies or when the government accepts offers of assistance or enters into partnerships with the tobacco industry.

Successful Resistance

Limiting Industry Engagement

Brunei continues to implement the code of conduct, applicable to all civil servants, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office that prohibits unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry or its representatives, requires transparency in any necessary (regulatory) interaction with the tobacco industry and rejects partnerships with and funding or sponsorship from the tobacco industry.

Industry Interference

Collaborating with the Industry

In Canada, the government collaborated with Medicago Inc., which is partly owned by Philip Morris International (one-third equity), to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. This collaboration is a violation of Article 5.3 which does not augur well for the government which, in the past, had been serious about Article 5.3 implementation.

Transparency

Lack of transparency in government interactions makes many vulnerable to influence from the tobacco industry

Successful Resistance

Disclosing Industry Meetings

Transparency has reduced unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry in New Zealand. Notifications of meetings between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the tobacco industry are announced on the MOH website.

Industry Interference

Undermining Track and Trace

Tobacco industry interference is a major obstacle facing Côte d’Ivoire in their efforts to control tobacco use. Authorities do not disclose their interactions with the tobacco industry. The industry intervened in the adoption of Codentify, a track and trace system for illicit tobacco products, lobbying the Ministry of Commerce to adopt it although this system is not approved by the international Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Conflicts of Interest

Senior government officials working for the industry present a conflict of interest.

Successful Resistance

Requiring Disclosure

France required the disclosure of possible conflicts of interest to protect public policies. In 2020 and early 2021, the tobacco industry targeted MPs both directly and indirectly, through third-party allies and lobbyists. They tried to use public health arguments to promote their activities and attempted to pass pro-tobacco amendments, but failed.

Industry Interference

Involving Government in the Industry

In Japan, the government’s share in Japan Tobacco Inc. continues to present conflicts of interest enabling the Finance Ministry to be involved in the industry.

Preventing Influence

Governments can proactively take several preventive measures to protect their officials from being exposed to interference.

Successful Resistance

Limiting Interaction

In July 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India adopted a code of conduct aimed at preventing industry interference and conflicts of interest among public officials and all departments within the Ministry’s jurisdiction. Thirteen Indian states have adopted measures that limit interaction with the industry and require mandatory disclosure of interaction records.

Industry Interference

Allowing Marketing

By failing to ratify the FCTC, Switzerland’s minimal and non-encompassing federal tobacco control laws benefit the tobacco industry greatly, allowing it to use the country as a political playground and a marketing laboratory.

The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index revealed how well governments have fought to protect their public health policies.

Learn more about how countries were evaluated.

Industry Interference Undermines COVID-19 Recovery

WATCH: The industry used the pandemic to curry favor with governments

Ranked 8 out of 80

Islamic Republic of Iran

Overall Score: 39

View Assessment

Governments already have the power to stop tobacco industry interference.

Specific actions governments include:

1 of 9

The whole government, not just the health sector, must curb tobacco industry interference

To reduce vulnerability to industry interference, a whole-of-government approach to implementing Article 5.3 is needed such as done in Botswana, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

2 of 9

Endorsement of tobacco industry activities must stop

Governments must limit interactions with the TI to only when strictly necessary for regulation and not endorse an industry that causes significant harm to society.

3 of 9

De-normalize so-called socially responsible activities of the tobacco industry

Governments must reject TI CSR activities and their official endorsement as these are a form of tobacco promotion and compromise the integrity of government officials to regulate tobacco.

4 of 9

Reject non-binding agreements with the tobacco industry

Governments are often disadvantaged when they agree to cooperate with the TI. There should be no collaboration between governments and the TI.

5 of 9

Stop giving incentives to the tobacco industry

The TI should not be granted incentives or any preferential treatment to run its business as incentives directly conflict with tobacco control policy.

6 of 9

Governments must divest from the tobacco industry

State-owned enterprises should be treated like any other TI. Divesting from the tobacco business increases government independence from the industry and prioritizes the protection of public health.

7 of 9

Require greater transparency for increased accountability

Transparency when dealing with the TI will reduce instances of interference by ensuring government officials and the industry are accountable. All interactions with the TI must be recorded and publicly available.

8 of 9

Implement a code to provide a firewall

To limit interactions with the TI, avoid conflicts of interest and strengthen transparency and accountability, governments must adopt a code of conduct with clear guidance on interactions with the TI.

9 of 9

Compel the tobacco industry to provide information about its business

The tobacco industry should be compelled to disclose its expenditure on marketing, lobbying and philanthropic activities.

Download the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index

Regional Reports

In-depth analyses of tobacco industry interference across regions

Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2021 Regional Reports Covers

Learn More about Tobacco Industry Interference