On February 24, 2015, BMJ published document ““Massive” tobacco industry third party lobbying for revised European Directive” about industry lobbying efforts to affect EU legislation. The full document is available here with additional links in it.
The BMJ document deals with tobacco, classified by IARC to be human carcinogen (Group 1). According to the IARC monograph there are 1 billion of smokers.
Knowing that the tobacco smoke is carcinogenic, the enormous efforts of the tobacco industry, successfully lobbying against EU regulation of tobacco, are astonishing and shocking. Money talks, even if it is against human health.
What is more, the EU law was not about forbidding of smoking but but merely about “…an increase in the size of graphic health warnings, a ban on certain flavourings, restrictions on the size and shape of cigarette packs, and regulation of e-cigarettes...”
This reminds the cell phone package labeling-wars with the telecom industry – e.g. San Francisco…
Industry makes profit but the costs of health care for the people made sick by the industry product is left for us – the taxpayers.
In this context it would be interesting to know what are the lobbying efforts of the telecom industry that secure the untamed spread of wireless technologies that still were not studied enough to prove/disprove health risks (not cancer only).
For comparison, there are 7 billion of cell phone users, as compared with “mere” 1 billion of smokers.
Here are few selected quotes from the BMJ document:
- The tobacco industry deployed “massive” third party lobbying to subvert revised European regulations on tobacco products,helped by regulatory reforms that seem to have made it easier for corporate interests to influence public health legislation, reveals research published online in Tobacco Control.
- [The EU law] …is weaker than the original proposals. The process for revision also took over five years, and was beset by controversy, amid claims of tobacco industry interference and the forced resignation of the Health Commissioner John Dalli.The Directive has been described as “the most lobbied dossier in the history of EU institutions.”
- The analysis revealed that industry lobbying tactics were deployed on a “massive” scale. Philip Morris International alone employed over 160 lobbyists, and described third party involvement as “key to success.”
Throughout the review process, tobacco industry access and influence were secured through the highest levels of political and legal power within the EU, with high profile former EU officials enabling this access.
As a result, two of the proposals that industry was most concerned about — plain packaging and point of sales display ban — were removed, and progress of the Directive was subject to repeated delays at every stage of the process.
The study confirmed previous research showing that the Smart Regulation agenda enables corporate interests to exert undue influence and therefore risks undermining European Union public health policy.