Tobacco industry interference with the 2017 Thai Tobacco Product Control Act
More details
Hide details
Mahidol University, Faculty of Public Health, Thailand
Law Health and Ethics Center, Faculty of Law, Thammasat University, Thailand
The Thailand Health Promotion Institute (THPI), Thailand
Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center, Mahidol University, Thailand
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A663
Download abstract book (PDF)

Thailand is among the earliest Asian countries to feel the force of the industry's influence because of trade disputes in the late 1980s. This provided Thailand important lessons of how to work against industry interests. These lessons have previously been researched through qualitative analysis of Thailand's policy and action.

Information from tobacco industry documents and specific policies and strategies used against the industry are illustrated and are applied to an examination of recent industry efforts: economic arguments from business interests and front groups, attempts to discredit established research findings, and using litigation to delay or block government tobacco control legislation/regulation.

Counter actions were implemented early, developed continually, and shifted from being reactive to proactive as industry strategies became clear. Essential features of counter efforts included carefully monitoring tobacco industry activities, informing stakeholders of industry activities through coordinated communications, and countering industry proposals, marketing efforts, and public relations activities, including corporate social responsibility actions.
Examples of interference to delay implementation of the new 2017 tobacco control law are provided. These include how the industry established front groups such as the Thai Tobacco Trade Association (TTTA) and the Thai Tobacco Growers, Curers and Dealers Association (TTA), both exaggerating economic consequences from the new law. Interference was seen through trade organizations, media, and attempts to meet high ranking authorities prior to the passage of the new law in March 2017. Interestingly, similar tactics had been used by the tobacco industry to interfere with the adoption of the previous Thai tobacco control law in 1992.

Exposing how the industry seeks to undermine the very authority of state policy provides lessons about the exploitive and irresponsible nature of the industry that can serve to warn and empower politicians and all policymakers to reject CSR and other fraudulent actions of the industry.