The UK is the most resistant country to the tobacco industry’s influence in policy making, a global analysis has revealed.
Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a global tobacco industry watchdog, has published its first Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index, which tracks governments’ implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The index covers 33 countries and is based on publicly available information on what the report calls tobacco industry ‘interference’ in these countries, and their respective governments’ responses from January 2017 to December 2018.
STOP rated the countries from 0 to 100 (with 0 being the least influenced). The UK was given a score of 26, while the next two lowest scores were Uganda, at 29, and Iran at 30. The countries with the highest ratings for the level of influence they allow were Japan, at 88; Jordan, at 79; and Bangladesh, at 77.
The watchdog said there was also “growing evidence of the industry using harm-reduction claims about e-cigarettes to justify interactions with government officials and open the door to new products”.
Mary Assunta, head of global research and advocacy at Good Governance in Tobacco Control, a partner in STOP and lead author of the report, said: “Governments must stand firm and fulfil their mandate to protect public health.”