UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index: Key findings and policy recommendations from the United Kingdom

Mateusz Zatonski

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Introduction: The Tobacco Industry Interference (TII) Index has been conceptualized by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control
Alliance (SEATCA) to evaluate the implementation of FCTC Article 5.3. In 2019 the first Global TII Index has been created.
This paper reports on key findings of the UK Index and resulting policy recommendations.
Methods: The UK Index was based on a questionnaire developed by SEATCA. It consists of 20 questions, with a scoring
range of 1 to 5, covering different forms of tobacco industry (TI) interference. Lower scores indicate better compliance
with Article 5.3. In order to complete the questionnaire, an expert consultation was conducted with UK’s leading tobacco
control specialists. This was supplemented by a scoping review of academic literature, media websites, government
websites, and the Tobacco Tactics resource.
Results: The UK has achieved a score of 25 – the lowest score among 33 countries surveyed. Strengths of the UK system
include the exclusion of TI from government bodies that set public health policy and from FCTC COP delegations; the
obligation of the government to publish information on all meetings with TI; and guidelines stipulating that its diplomats
must not engage on behalf of TI. Nevertheless weaknesses remain, including the fact that the above obligations are not all
fully implemented; the lack of legislation prohibiting TI from donating to political parties, candidates, or campaigns; the
absence of an effective lobbying register; and the ongoing involvement of parliamentary consultative bodies, individual
politicians and political parties with TI and affiliated organisations.
Conclusion: The Index suggests that the UK has relatively low levels of TI interference. Consistent with this is the fact that the
UK is consistently ranked as having the most robust tobacco control policies in Europe. Nonetheless, the survey revealed
significant gaps in Article 5.3 compliance, and the need for a range of policy changes. Among them are a ban on
tobacco-related CSR activities, the introduction of guidelines for public officials governing their dealings with the TI, and the
creation of a legally binding lobbying transparency register.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Event8th European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH) - CityCube, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 19 Feb 202022 Mar 2020
Conference number: 8th


Conference8th European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH)
Abbreviated titleECToH


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