Industry Watch: Policy Interference | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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The tobacco industry employs a wide range of strategies to interfere with the adoption and implementation of laws that threaten its ability to increase tobacco sales.

To stop the tobacco industry from interfering in the development of strong tobacco control policies, advocates must expose these strategies.

It is also critical that governments adopt policies to prevent industry interference in policy making consistent with Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

To interfere with policy making, the tobacco industry engages in strategies designed to:

  • Stop or significantly weaken legislation through direct lobbying, participation in expert groups and consultancies.
  • Impede the effectiveness of laws by flaunting them or undermining efforts to enforce them.
  • Engage in so called "socially responsible" activities to generate goodwill and legitimacy among the public and policy makers.


Based on science and experience, the World Health Organization has identified six cost-effective solutions that have been proven to reduce tobacco use and that every nation must act urgently to implement, including protecting everyone from secondhand smoke and enacting and enforcing comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion.

Given the proven success of these interventions, the tobacco industry actively fights the passage and implementation of strong tobacco control legislation in order to protect its profits. Tobacco companies interfere with the legislative process in countries where they operate by creating allies and leveraging their influence among policy making and regulatory bodies.

Tactics used by the tobacco industry include:

  • Direct lobbying of decision makers
  • Political funding
  • Drafting bills and submitting comments on drafted legislation
  • Participating on committees
  • Providing political donations, gifts, trips and perks

Compliance with Laws

Enforcing tobacco control policies is just as important as passing them. Once legislation is passed, the tobacco industry challenges the enforcement of laws by not complying with the laws or by finding loopholes that undermine them. Tobacco control advocates must continue to monitor the industry's actions after strong legislation is put in place, and should encourage government enforcement agencies to demand compliance.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The tobacco industry attempts to legitimize itself with policy makers and the public by maintaining corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. By funding so-called "socially responsible" activities, the tobacco industry strives to counter the negative attention surrounding its deadly products and to build goodwill among policymakers and the public.

Ultimately the industry's CSR programs:

  • Serve the industry's political interest by preventing effective tobacco control legislation.
  • Marginalize public health advocates.
  • Preserve the industry's access to youth and other market segments.
  • Create allies and preserve influence for the industry among policymaking and regulatory bodies.
  • Defuse opposition from the public.
  • Bolster industry credibility.