Scientists reviewed recently secret corporate documents released after legal action in America. These were examined to understand the new tactics used by the cigarettes industry when the European Union was developing the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 1999. The TPD is at present under review which makes this report particularly pertinent, as many of the same tactics are being employed once again. Direct lobbying of politicians and civil servants who were seen to have special influence over the shape of the new law was a main tactic. The German government and MEPs played a very important role in this respect.
Indirect lobbying was also done through tobacco farmers, suppliers and distributors as well as engaging with trade organizations. Three main controversies were used to argue against the legislation.
The legal argument was that the proposed ordinances to control tobacco products were outside the EU’s jurisdiction and that the directive was in breach of free trade contracts.
The economic argument stated that the TPD was a danger to jobs, with tobacco industry studies exaggerating job losses while ignoring the possible health benefits.
Scientific arguments utilized the lack of technical expertise within the European Commission on the complex issues surrounding the Directive. This enabled tobacco industry representatives to gain direct access to officials.