Smoke and Mirrors: Weak EU Transparency Rules Allow Tobacco Industry Lobbyists to Dodge Scrutiny

July 2, 2020

Given the upcoming revision of the Tobacco Products Directive, it is high time that the EU meets its obligations to ensure that lobbying by the tobacco industry to influence public officials faces tighter scrutiny and pro-active transparency.

As the European Union prepares for a review and possible revision of its Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), to start in 2021, lobbying by the tobacco industry to avoid stricter controls is going to intensify. The previous revision of the TPD (finalised in 2014) featured a scandal-ridden lobbying battle, which included the resignation of Health Commissioner Dalli, and the tobacco industry investing millions of euros in often very manipulative influencing strategies. An analysis of hundreds of documents received via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests shows that the European Commission is badly prepared for this upcoming lobbying battle. Despite having signed on to the UN’s tobacco control treaty (UNFCTC) that obliges governments to protect public health decision-making from tobacco industry influence, the Commission fails to properly implement these obligations.

Read more: Corporate Europe Observatory