Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tobacco company helped shape European policy system favoring corporate profits over public health, study finds

Date:
January 12, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
British American Tobacco, the world's second largest tobacco transnational, strategically influenced the European Union's framework for evaluating policy options, leading to the acceptance of an agenda which emphasizes business interests over public health, according to a new study.

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world's second largest tobacco transnational, strategically influenced the European Union's framework for evaluating policy options, leading to the acceptance of an agenda which emphasizes business interests over public health, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine.

By law, virtually all new policies proposed in the European Union (EU) must undergo an "impact assessment" (IA): a review of the potential economic, social, and environmental consequences. The outcome of such review is heavily influenced by the type of impact assessment tool used. IA tools focusing on economic impacts, for example, tend to favor regulation increasing business profits, even if such policies undermine general public health. Independent experts have suggested that the EU's current IA tool, which focuses heavily on economic impacts, does not adequately take policies' health impacts into account.

Now, this new PLoS Medicine article provides evidence that BAT, working with companies from other sectors (including chemical, oil and food companies), played a key role in shaping the EU's current business-oriented IA system.

Dr Katherine Smith and colleagues (University of Bath; University of Edinburgh) analyzed over 700 internal BAT documents containing information on BAT's attempts to influence European regulatory reform, and interviewed relevant European policymakers and lobbyists. They found that BAT created a policy network comprised of representatives from a number of large corporations involved in marketing products that are damaging to public health and the environment, to promote a lobbying campaign to alter EU policymaking rules.

The campaign resulted in specific changes to the EU Treaty calling for policymakers to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, ultimately fostering the current system of business-oriented IA, which may well stall or even prevent future EU public health regulations, say the authors. Moreover, the authors report that EU officials were often unaware of the magnitude of BAT's influence -- presumably due to the latter's creation of a policy network and the campaign's use of third parties, such as think tanks and consultancy companies.

The authors suggest that BAT and its corporate allies laid the groundwork for a policy evaluation system in the EU which emphasizes corporate interests over citizens' health. Increased transparency, awareness of corporations' policy influence and greater understanding of the IA system are thus needed to ensure that EU policies required to protect public health continue to emerge.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Smith KE, Fooks G, Collin J, Weishaar H, Mandal S & Gilmore AB. 'Working the System' -- British American Tobacco's Influence on the European Union Treaty and Its Implications for Policy: An Analysis of Internal Tobacco Industry Documents. PLoS Medicine, 2010; 7 (1): e1000202 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000202

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Tobacco company helped shape European policy system favoring corporate profits over public health, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111211255.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, January 12). Tobacco company helped shape European policy system favoring corporate profits over public health, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111211255.htm
Public Library of Science. "Tobacco company helped shape European policy system favoring corporate profits over public health, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111211255.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins