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Lifting the smoke screen on big tobacco

November 26th, 2010 by Isabela Mayer

tobacco cigarettesThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released its investigative report into the tobacco industry’s global lobbying campaign.
The investigation, called Smoke Screen – big tobacco’s global lobbying campaign, traces how multinational tobacco companies, faced with stagnant sales and health-conscious governments in developed nations, have targeted expansion in developing countries and emerging markets.

Smokescreen reporters investigated an array of industry efforts to delay or derail smoking reforms – ranging from hard-nosed lobbying and lawsuits to charitable donations and outright payoffs.

Thirteen ICIJ reporters conducted hundreds of interviews with leading politicians, government regulators, health-care specialists, tobacco control activists, and current and former industry executives.

The project examines six countries as case studies – India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Uruguay. In each of these places, court and government records are being mined – in some cases testing new freedom of information laws. And a trove of tobacco industry documents, made public after the industry lost landmark lawsuits in US courts, are being examined to draw connections between past practices and present-day consequences of tobacco’s hard lobbying.

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