The first step to monitoring and documenting is identifying the (a) tobacco industry and those representing its interests, and (b) those contributing to tobacco control efforts.

SEATCA’s “Surveillance of Tobacco Industry Activities Toolkit” published in 2009 provides a surveillance approach and tracking tool used by its tobacco industry surveillance network in seven ASEAN countries.
SEATCA’s “Surveillance of Tobacco Industry Activities Toolkit” published in 2009 provides a surveillance approach and tracking tool used by its tobacco industry surveillance network in seven ASEAN countries.


Since the tobacco industry comes in different disguises, defining it to avoid misunderstanding is a big challenge. As long as it is not clear to people and policymakers who the tobacco industry is and how it misbehaves, it will be difficult for them to establish a case of tobacco industry interference.

One possible way to resolve this is to identify specific individuals, firms, or entities which are known to have tobacco industry interests and have promoted these interests, and categorize them as part of the tobacco industry. This list must be disseminated throughout the government and relevant civil society sectors in order to ensure that government personnel are forewarned.

After dissemination, it may be assumed that any act favorable to the tobacco industry, such as granting incentives or partnering with the tobacco industry, may be considered to have been done knowingly.

The Article 5.3 Guidelines refer to “public health policies with respect to tobacco control.” They apply to persons, bodies, or entities that contribute to, or could contribute to, the formulation, implementation, administration, or enforcement of such policies.

Almost all government agencies, to a certain degree, contribute or could contribute to the setting or implementation of public health policies with respect to tobacco control.

Refer to the Quick Self-Tests in the following pages to determine the extent to which government agencies or personnel are contributing to tobacco control. This is further elaborated in the section “Government Roles in Setting and Implementing Tobacco Control Policies.”

The technical definition of “tobacco industry” in the WHO FCTC is limited to “tobacco manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and importers of tobacco products.” However, the countries that have ratified the WHO FCTC, through the Article 5.3 Guidelines, have adopted broader definitions of “tobacco industry” for purposes of making all responsible entities accountable.

For instance, the Guidelines to the Implementation of Article 13 of the WHO FCTC (Tobacco Advertising, Promotions, and Sponsorships) have identified more entities that can be held accountable because they are likely to promote tobacco industry interests in marketing tobacco products. These include:

• Tobacco retailers and their agents and associations.
• Persons or entities that produce or publish content (e.g., advertising agencies, designers, publishers of newspapers and other printed materials, broadcasters and producers of films, television and radio programmes, games and live performances, Internet, mobile phone, satellite, and game-content producers).
• Any entity that makes any relevant form of contribution, those that receive any relevant form of contribution, and any intermediaries that facilitate the making or receiving of a relevant form of contribution.
• Persons or entities, for example, media and event organizers, sports people, celebrities, film stars and other artists, who should be banned from engaging in tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.

When defining conflicts of interests, the tobacco industry includes potential contractors or tenderers with its interests. Any entity or person, when promoting or representing the interests of tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors, are also included in the broad definition of “tobacco industry” for purposes of implementing Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC.

Organizations and their Links with the Tobacco Industry
Adam Smith Institute Libertarian think tank. Made submission to 2012 Department of Health consultation on standard packs. Receives tobacco industry funding. Has worked with CECCM.
Alcan Packaging Supplier to tobacco industry. Made a submission to the 2008 Department of Health consultation on tobacco control. Subsidiary of Amcor, a multinational packaging company.
Alliance for Intellectual Property A coalition of trade and enforcement organizations. Members include the Anti-Counterfeiting Group and the British Brands Group.
American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union Represents American business interests in the EU. BAT and Philip Morris are members.
Amcor Tobacco Packaging Global supplier of packaging solutions based in Australia. Made submission to 2012 consultation on standardized packaging. Client of the tobacco industry with “strong international relationships with major customers.”
American-European Community Association Provides a forum for discussion of key global business, economic, and political affairs. Philip Morris, BAT, and Imperial are all members.

In 2014, ASH UK released a brief for party parliamentary group on smoking and health on tobacco front groups and lobbying tactics of the tobacco industry. The document lists over 100 organizations linked with the tobacco industry, their actions, and what tobacco industry or company is involved. Organizations named include local associations, suppliers, and affiliates as well as USorEurope-based organizations and international think tanks. It also lists over 20 public relations agencies and law firms representing tobacco industry interests.

Source: ASH Briefing for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health : TOBACCO FRONT GROUPS & THIRD PARTY LOBBYING TACTICS, 2014,


checklistIf your office contributes to tobacco control, then it should be promoting awareness of tobacco industry interference. Find out by answering the questions below (Click on the link).




The meeting of the National Committee on Tobacco Control included deliberation on Article 5.3 and preparation of implementation plan to be submitted to Cabinet for further directives. Publications about the dishonest behavior and devious nature of the tobacco industry are translated into Thai language and disseminated:

• Tobacco industry’s internal documents
• US publication, Trust us: We are the tobacco industry
• Fact sheet on tobacco industry’s CSR
• WHO publication on tobacco industry’s interference in public policy


The Department of Health is required to state the following policy statement in all its correspondences, contracts, and issuances relating to tobacco control: “The Department of Health does not deal with the tobacco industry or those representing its interests.” In addition, all DOH personnel are required to publicly denounce any tobacco industry donation or perception of partnership. The Civil Service Commission circulated a memorandum reminding government agencies of the Article 5.3 and the JMC, and continues to send letters to various government agencies as needed to respond to queries regarding tobacco industry interference.

United Kingdom

The Secretary of State for Health wrote to counterparts in all other government departments to remind them of their responsibility to abide by the Article 5.3 Guidelines, including disseminating such Guidelines and offering advice on their implementation. In 2013, the United Kingdom issued guidelines for its officials to “avoid a long list of actions that could be seen to support the tobacco industry.


Typically, incidents of tobacco industry interference are discussed in the course of examining challenges in developing and implementing tobacco control measures, but many of these remain undocumented. Efforts to document interference in a systematic manner need to be encouraged as incidents of interference will form the basis for counter or preventive action. Below are some examples of systematic reporting and tools developed to encourage reporting:


In 2014, ASH UK released a brief for party parliamentary group on smoking and health on tobacco front groups and lobbying tactics of the tobacco industry. The document lists over 100 organizations linked with the tobacco industry, their actions, and what tobacco industry or company is involved. Organizations named include local associations, suppliers, and affiliates as well as US- or Europe-based organizations and international think tanks. It also lists over 20 public relations agencies and law firms representing tobacco industry interests.

COUNTERING TOBACCO INDUSTRY INTERFERENCE AT THE LOCAL LEVELThe publication Countering Tobacco Industry Interferance at the Local Level contains inputs from civil society organizations, local government officials, and the ministry of health. HealthJustice managed to collate evidence of tobacco industry interference and efforts to counter them.


countering-tobacco-tacticsIn October 2010, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia launched a step-by-step guide entitled “Countering Tobacco Tactics” to systematically identify, monitor, and prevent tobacco industry interference in public health in Australia.


Template Verification Letter – used to verify reports of tobacco industry interference.

Template Warning/Notice Letter – In case of a verified report of tobacco industry interference, this letter is sent to the person in charge as a warning and reminder to take preventive action.

Incident Report – To encourage reporting and submission of complete data, this incident report is adopted by the Art. 5.3 Committee of the Philippines. Any person can submit this to the 5.3 Committee or the Civil Service Commission.

Tobacco Industry Interference Index Form – Beginning 2014, SEATCA has encouraged advocates in the region to assess the level of interference in their respective countries using the list of indicators adopted from the Art. 5.3 Guidelines. The results are summed up in a regional report that ranks countries in their progress in avoiding tobacco industry

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