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The UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020

Smoking is a major public health threat, but how successful is the UK government at preventing the tobacco industry from interfering in health policy?

The Houses of Parliament
The Global Tobacco Index 2020 measures government success across 57 countries, including the UK, at preventing policy interference by the tobacco industry

The UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index (UKTIII) forms part of the Global Tobacco Index (GTI). The index ranks 57 countries worldwide based on how well they implement and comply with specific measures drawn up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the tobacco industry interfering with policy making by governments.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force in 2005, and is the world’s first global public health treaty. Developed in response to the tobacco epidemic, it reaffirms every person’s right to the highest standard of health and provides a legal framework for international health co-operation. In total, there are 182 Parties to the WHO FCTC, including the UK.

The UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index

This short video explains more about the UK Index.

‘Throughout 2019 we found that more tobacco companies actively tried to influence policy and used various pretexts, like illicit trade, to approach policymakers. We also we found more high-profile instances of conflict of interest among politicians.’
Dr Mateusz Zatonski Lead researcher, UKTIII

The research showed that the UK government was less successful at preventing tobacco industry interference in 2019 than it was the previous year. Some examples of industry interference included:

  • industry representatives, or organisations affiliated to the industry, participating in informal parliamentary groups.
  • industry promoting its CSR activity among parliamentarians using informal parliamentary groups and direct lobbying.
  • individual backbench parliamentarians in England and the devolved administrations attending industry social functions.

UKTIII 2020 report and brief

Read more about the findings in the report, and see the policy brief for detailed recommendations.

UKTIII 2019 report and brief

View the findings and recommendations from the 2019 Index.

About the Tobacco Control Research Group

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The research used to compile the UKTIII was led by the University of Bath in collaboration with Action on Smoking and Health, ASH Scotland, ASH Wales and Cancer Research UK.

The Global Tobacco Index 2020 is produced by the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. GGTC is a partner of STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog.