United States 2021 Tobacco Industry Interference Index: The US Implementation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2020 Versus 2019
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Action on Smoking and Health, London, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):17
Tobacco kills 8 million people a year worldwide. To combat the tobacco epidemic, the most powerful tool is public policy. However, reducing tobacco use through public policy is systematically challenged by Big Tobacco. Tobacco industry interference is a barrier to protecting public health from the dangers of tobacco.

The aim of this report is to assess and systematically raise awareness of tobacco industry interference in policymaking through a standardized index. This index quantifies the extent of tobacco industry interference in US policy throughout 2020 across 20 indicators of interference to assess the level of implementation of Article 5.3 of the FCTC, Annual scores allow for comparison of the United States' implementation of the FCTC with previous indices and across countries.

The study was conducted on information from January-December of 2020. The five most circulated new sources, the top fifteen government agencies involved in tobacco control, and the websites of the five most prevalent tobacco industries in the US were systematically searched for keywords. Instances of tobacco industry interference were gathered and sorted into each of the 20 indicators, then scored from zero (no interference) through five (high interference). The higher the score, the more tobacco industry interference in public policy.

The research is ongoing and data collection has not been finalized. Final results will be presented at the conference.

Preventing tobacco industry interference in public policy is crucial to ending the tobacco epidemic. Recommendations to protect against industry interference include: ending special benefits for the industry, standardizing procedures and increasing transparency for interactions between the industry and government officials, prohibiting contributions from the tobacco industry to the government, its agencies, officials, and their relatives, and that the US ratify the WHO FCTC.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.