245334 Tobacco industry's global strategies to block diffusion of health warning labels

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:50 AM

Heikki Hiilamo, PhD , Research Department, Social Insurance Institute of Finland, Helsinki, Finland
Stanton A. Glantz, PhD , Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Objective: To analyze multinational tobacco companies strategies to block diffusion of health warnings on cigarette packs.

Methods: Analysis of global warning label practices and tobacco industry documents.

Results: Health warning labels, especially labels with graphic element, are threatening to the tobacco industry because they offer low cost and effective measure to reduce smoking. Multinational tobacco companies did not originally object to innocuous warnings with blurred health message. The companies began to cooperate in undermining warnings once more lucid warnings began to appear since the 1970's. At critical junctures where new health warning label innovations have been introduced, multinational companies have been adamant to defend the integrity of the pack as a marketing tool and used methods such as export embargos to pursue this target. Since 1985, the tobacco industry has been aware of the effectiveness of graphic health warning labels (GWHL). The industry launched an all out attack on Sweden in 1991 to prevent the introduction of GHWLs, and was successful in delaying GHWLs internationally for nearly ten years. Conclusion: More concentrated efforts from the tobacco control community are called for to subvert tobacco industry lobbying efforts and introduce GHWLs also in developing countries.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain why it is important to implement graphic health warning labels on cigarette pack both in developed and in developing countries. Describe how it is possible to subvert tobacco industry influences with regard to health warning labels.

Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I did the research and am the author of the paper being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.