University of Bath

Innovative political strategies of tobacco companies aimed at undermining UK and EU health policy

An IPR Policy Brief examining the political strategies tobacco companies have developed to gain access to policy elites and shape public health agendas.

Research conducted by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath has examined the political strategies tobacco companies have developed to gain access to policy élites, exploit the political value of the specialised information under their control, and shape public health agendas.

Tobacco companies constantly innovate in the techniques they use to influence policy that affects how their interests and activities are governed. The findings show that seemingly benign initiatives – such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and the European Union (EU) Better Regulation agenda - have provided mechanisms for tobacco companies to progress their own interests and subvert public health concerns and priorities. As a result, the research stresses the vital importance of critically assessing and monitoring how such initiatives are used, in order to ensure balanced and effective policymaking.