Understanding tobacco companies' strategies to exert influence on policy makers and gain credibility with the public is critical in knowing how to best counter their deadly tactics.

Tobacco control advocates must understand how the tobacco industry operates in their country and region, and be familiar with local and regional tobacco products.

This information can be used to educate the public and policy makers, and undermine the tobacco industry's ability to weaken the adoption and implementation of effective tobacco control policies.

The tobacco industry is complex and must be understood on multiple levels:

Armed with a better understanding of the tobacco industry's goals and strategies, advocates can more effectively work to delegitimize the industry and reduce the use of its deadly products.

Tobacco Companies

Transnational tobacco companies are increasingly dominating the tobacco industry in developing countries.

Because of the money and expertise it brings, a transnational company's entry into a new market increases competition for market share by existing national tobacco companies and makes the task of tobacco control advocates more difficult.

Understanding these companies provides insights into strategies they use to maximize profits and hook new users.

These include cutting costs by streamlining manufacturing, global distribution, and marketing; and acquiring, launching and marketing new brands in emerging markets.

Countries

Although transnational tobacco companies operate in most countries, their strategies and tactics differ in each country and are influenced by a variety of factors including the types of tobacco companies already present in a country, the target markets, and the tobacco control policies in place.

Profiles for each country and region include the following information:

  • Current market shares of tobacco companies
  • Corporate structure of ownership related to parent and local subsidiary companies
  • Types and quantity of tobacco products sold
  • Plans for and trends in tobacco product launches
  • Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship including so-called "corporate social responsibility" sponsorships and activities
  • Tobacco company efforts to undermine tobacco control policies

Tobacco Products

Tobacco use in some countries or regions is dominated by tobacco products that are not commonly available elsewhere.

These products often have different health risks and manufacturing methods. The manufacturers of these products also may influence the political system in unique ways.