The UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020/2021: An assessment of the implementation of WHO FCTC Article 5.3 in the United Kingdom
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Tobacco Control Research Group, Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):12
The Tobacco Industry Interference Index evaluates the implementation of WHO FCTC Article 5.3 in different countries using a standardised tool developed by the South East Asian Tobacco Control Alliance which enables inter-country comparisons. There are two published editions of the Index and a third edition is scheduled to be published in November 2021.

This paper reports on the findings of the Index for the UK for the period between January 2020 and March 2021.

Researchers completed a questionnaire covering different forms of tobacco industry interference in policy in the UK between January 2020 and March 2021. The questionnaire consisted of 20 questions, covering 7 areas of assessment based on implementation guidelines of Article 5.3. To complete the questionnaire, the researchers conducted a search of relevant academic literature, media websites, government websites, and the Tobacco Tactics resource. This was supplemented by an expert consultation with the UK’s leading tobacco control specialists.

In the 2020/2021 Index the UK’s overall performance was consistent with the previous edition of the Index (exact score to be announced in November 2021). The government’s policies aiming at preventing industry influence remained the same in the ‘transparency’ and ‘preventive measures’ categories. A slight improvement was reported in the scoring of the categories assessing ‘industry participation in policy development’, ‘benefits to the industry’ and ‘conflict of interest’. A slight deterioration was reported in the score of the categories assessing ‘industry corporate social responsibility’ and ‘unnecessary interactions with the industry’.

The UK remains one of the global leaders in preventing tobacco industry interference in policy. However, it is concerning that there has been little progress by the national and local governments in tackling some of the persisting areas of concern, including inadequate structural mechanisms to ensure transparency, address conflicts of interest, and strengthen preventive measures.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.