Industry Is the Problem, Not a Stakeholder In Public Health

The industry has often requested to be part of national and sub-national tobacco control task forces or committees, by promoting itself as a stakeholder. However, by analogy a government would normally not include private companies in regulatory bodies that decide on their very trade.

In Cambodia in 2007, BAT Cambodia representatives urged the government to consult it on the formulation of any law pertaining to tobacco control during a meeting with the Commission on Public Health and the National Assembly.

Since 2003, as set forth in Section 29 of Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act 2003), the Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI) and the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) sit as members of the Inter-Agency Committee-Tobacco (IACT) tasked with the law’s implementation. This is because Section 29 of the law requires a tobacco industry representative as a member of the IACT. Because the IACT has the exclusive power and function to administer and implement the provisions of RA 9211, this enables PTI to interfere in decision-making despite their obvious conflict of interest. This inclusion of a tobacco industry representative in the IACT has been questioned repeatedly by tobacco control advocates. In 2008, there were also reports that Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) requested to be involved in the meetings of the Legazpi City Anti-smoking Committee. 

In 2000, PM entered into a 25-year Government and Tobacco Industry Contract with the Laotian government that restricts tobacco tax to 15%, although the law stipulates a tax rate of 55%.