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Tobacco industry interference

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Why tobacco industry influence is an important issue

The commercial tobacco industry has a long history of shamelessly protecting its profits at the expense of people’s lives. As e-cigarettes put a new generation at risk of nicotine addiction, tobacco companies are mounting a campaign to try to transform their image with non-combustible tobacco products and claims that they can be part of the “public health solution” to end smoking.

See our work on industry influence

With new products like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices, the tobacco industry is exploiting harm reduction and attempting to position itself as working alongside public health while aggressively growing its market base among youth and young adults. Through tactics exposed in the Truth Initiative report “Spinning a New Tobacco Industry” — including expanding its product portfolio, marketing new products to youth and young adults who have rejected cigarettes, working to improve industry reputation among influential audiences and the general public, and cultivating influence with policy makers and lobbying against tobacco control policies — the industry is trying to overhaul its reputation and protect profits.

Big Tobacco has spent decades doggedly using its political influence to protect its business interests, support policy makers who do its bidding and block lawmakers and public health officials’ efforts to protect people. Faced with cigarette sales that have been declining for years, the tobacco industry continues to innovate to rebrand its public image and maintain its bottom line.

We aren’t afraid to take on an industry that spends billions to recruit replacements for the more than 1,300 who die each day from tobacco use. Truth Initiative monitors tobacco industry strategies, researches and analyzes their impact, including by measuring public opinion, and informs the public and institutions about its tactics.

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Protecting Scientific Integrity

Undermining the integrity of science has been a strategy of the tobacco industry for decades. We’ve seen them launch an industry-funded research group, sponsor entire issues of prestigious research journals, and present at tobacco control research conferences, where they have the opportunity to gain critical insight into tobacco control evidence and strategy. The industry’s funded research has been and continues to be rife with conflict, unproven claims about product safety and efficacy, and perspectives motivated by profit. Their involvement in tobacco science has been marked by actions to delay and prevent the adoption of proven tobacco control strategies.

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