164148 Tobacco Companies Use Malawi to Lobby Against Global Tobacco Control

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 9:10 AM

Marty Otanez, PhD , Center for Tobacoo Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Transnational tobacco companies, through the International Tobacco Growers' Association, an organization created by tobacco companies in 1984 to weaken global tobacco control activities, produced and disseminated reports on the economic importance of tobacco in Malawi, including claims of losses of jobs and foreign earnings in Malawi due to the passage of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Tobacco companies conducted a “Roadshow” media event in Malawi (and elsewhere) in an effort to discredit World Bank evidence of the public health benefits of tobacco control, installed industry representatives on Malawi's delegations to World Health Organization meetings, and introduced resolutions or made amendments to tobacco-related resolutions in United Nations agencies focused on tobacco control policymaking to conduct research on the economic implications of tobacco control in tobacco growing countries. The industry's continuous plea for more research on tobacco economics temporarily displaced health as the focus in tobacco control policymaking and required policymakers to focus on the economic impact of tobacco control policymaking in developing countries. Tobacco industry interference in policymaking and lobbying power over Malawi government and farmer officials failed to derail the passage of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. However, industry interference contributed to Malawi's refusal to sign the Convention. Tobacco companies' influence on Malawi government representatives and farmer officials is a means by which tobacco companies attempt to shape the terms of global health policy and prevent tobacco control policymakers from having any meaningful effect in Malawi.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the learner will be able to describe three strategies tobacco companies deploy to use Malawi to lobby against global tobacco control policy to help health professionals understand and counter the industry’s tactics to undermine global health policy.

Keywords: International Health, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.