Tobacco industry arguments against new laws and regulations
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Health Funds for Smoke Free, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Danielle Arnold   

Health Funds for Smoke Free, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A5
Since the establishment of the National Prevention Agreement in 2018, several tobacco control measures have been implemented in the Netherlands to realise a Smokefree Generation before 2040. Regulations have been drafted, to which citizens and organisations could respond via online consultations. The tobacco industry also responded, both directly and indirectly via related stakeholders. We wanted to gain insight in the arguments most commonly used by the tobacco industry. We instructed a research company to summarise, analyse and systematically organise the arguments used by the tobacco industry to change, delay or block regulations, between 2019 and 2022. From the 4388 public responses to in total 17 online consultations, 4113 responses contain arguments against tobacco control regulations. Most responses from the tobacco industry and its allies follow a specific pattern. They state they fully support the governmental goal to achieve a Smokefree Generation, but that they are against the tobacco control measure in question as a means to achieve this goal. Most responses contain the argument that the specific measure is not effective, as well as arguments related to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products as a tool to quit smoking. Other common arguments relate to illicit trade, effects of tobacco control measures on the economy and technical issues. Often literature is cited or examples from abroad are given to substantiate arguments. The tobacco industry tried to delay certain measures by pleading for a transition period that provides sufficient time to prepare for the measure. The consultation regarding the ban on e-cigarette flavours generated by far the most responses. This seems to be caused by tobacco industry campaigns to get e-cigarette users and retailers to speak up. Insight in the arguments most commonly used by the tobacco industry can help NGOs to better prepare for industry interference and improve their advocacy strategies.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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