Tobacco use is one of the strongest cancer-causing agents, and cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Tobacco use is also the world's leading cause of preventable death, with global mortality projected to rise from 5.4 million in 2005 to 8.3 million in 2030. This challenge has stimulated a substantial and innovative public health response, both at state and federal level and increasingly internationally. Notwithstanding such progress, developments in the global political economy, including in trade and global governance, continue to generate challenges for public health. Agreements designed to promote trade, the practices of international finance organizations and broader trends in national and supranational governance can each conflict with public health priorities. This is evident in the arbitration claim recently brought to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by Indonesia against Section 907 of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Such conflicts have the potential to undermine progress in tobacco control. Tobacco document research (TDR) to date has dramatically increased understanding of industry strategies to undermine specific tobacco control policies, largely at national level. Yet understanding remains limited of how tobacco companies advance their global interests through broader strategies of engagement with trade and governance agendas, including via influence over economic and foreign policy, national and supranational regulatory processes, international organizations, and through working with other industries. Analysis of such strategies is a precondition for fully understanding the nature and extent of tobacco industry influence and for promoting policy coherence between global health concerns and trade, foreign policy and development agendas. Furthermore, the US and many other countries that have implemented wide-ranging tobacco control programs still face considerable difficulties in controlling their tobacco epidemics. Research that addresses ongoing developments in tobacco industry structure and tactics is, therefore, increasingly required to inform more innovative policy developments that will be essential to effectively addressing tobacco use in the future. This proposed project aims to: 1. Contribute to the methodological development of document-based research, examine continuity and change in corporate strategy, and develop a taxonomy of tobacco industry strategies to shape policy. 2. Examine the implications of trade agreements for tobacco control and global health. 3. Analyze the health implications for tobacco control of industry efforts to introduce wide ranging regulatory reforms and to influence non-governmental organizations and examine broader engagement in global health initiatives.
National and international efforts to reduce the damage from tobacco use risk being undermined by tobacco companies and recent developments in global governance which provide opportunities for tobacco companies to expand sales and influence policy. Yet understanding of how tobacco companies engage with economic, foreign policy and development agendas, and take advantage of and influence trade agreements, regulatory processes and civil society organizations in order to advance their interests remains limited. This project will address these research gaps and, by examining developments in tobacco industry structure and tactics, will inform the development of innovative policy options essential to effectively address tobacco use.
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