Tobacco industry interference challenging public health in India; time for the implementation of FCTC Article 5.3
 
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Directorate of Health Service, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A664
 
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WCTOH
 
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ABSTRACT
Background:
There is an irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry and public health. Tobacco industry use their enormous wealth and power to influence policies to market their deadly products. Industry usually takes the shield of government's constitutions, international bilateral investment treaties, corporate property rights and adult autonomy to oppose any move by tobacco control advocates. It is important for tobacco control advocates to know the manipulative tactics of tobacco companies to get better equipped for countering the tobacco industry interference. Present study was conducted to examine the common tactics being adopted by tobacco industry in India to interfere in public health.

Methods:
Investigators did a snowball retrieval research by accessing websites of major tobacco companies in India, UCSF truth tobacco industry documents online library and MOH,Govt. of India website and referred to available literature in the PubMed between 1st July 2016 to 31st December 2016.

Results:
Tobacco industry manipulated political and legislative process; delayed notification of national legislation (COTPA 2003) and its subsequent rules. Industry took legal measures for challenging TAPS ban in the name corporate property rights, delayed new pictorial health warnings by an attempt to discredit the science. Industry intimidated government with litigation on Gutkha ban. Fronts groups of farmers, traders, media and film industry created; raised the issues of livelihood and individuals rights of expression. New Company's act 2013 is now grossly misused by tobacco companies in the name of social responsibility.

Conclusions:
Tobacco industry will keep doing all possible manipulations and interference in public health to carry on their business. Tobacco control advocates and law implementers to tackle each case of industry interference using provisions in the existing legislation. It is a right time for national and state government to develop a model code of conduct and clear policy document that aligns with principle of FCTC article 5.3

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