An investigation carried out by global tobacco industry watchdog STOP has resulted in the addition of 25 new organisations to its Tobacco Industry Allies database. The database, launched in 2019, now includes 135 groups across 33 countries. The research was carried out in collaboration with the University of Bath's Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG), a partner in STOP.
Each of the allies listed in the database is categorised as ‘Third Party’, ‘Front Group’ or ‘Astroturf’ using the definitions outlined by STOP. However, what all of these groups have in common are apparent links, financial or other, to the tobacco industry, alongside support of the industry’s products or narrative. The investigation has also demonstrated that the number of these organisations is increasing, and they are appearing across the globe and at every stage in the tobacco industry’s supply chain.
'This update provides further evidence that the tobacco industry uses different types of organisations to build influence. They range from traditional allies like farmers’ groups and retailers’ associations, whose members have a vested interest in the sale of the industry’s products, to groups promoting the industry’s electronic products', said Phil Chamberlain, Deputy Director of TCRG. 'The common factor is shared interest, with tobacco companies as founders, funders, members or sources of revenue.'
Chamberlain continued: 'The industry is seeking to influence new policies in its own interests and, in some countries, roll back policies already implemented to reduce smoking. Worryingly, the allies we have identified represent only a portion of those helping to ensure business and policy environments remain friendly to the industry’s interests. Policymakers need to know about these groups because, though they appear independent, they are actually helping the tobacco industry.'
For more information on tactics used by industry allies, and pages summarising some of these groups, see our TobaccoTactics pages: