Anti-Smoking Groups Cry Foul Against Tobacco Firms

GENEVA (Reuters) Mar 21 – Anti-smoking groups on Wednesday warned the World Health Organisation and its member states to be alert to tobacco industry tactics to stall efforts to wean the world off smoking.
"We are finding that the tobacco industry's activities, both at the national level and globally, to interfere in public health policy are escalating," Kathryn Mulvey of corporate accountability Infact (US) told a news conference.

She referred to a report by Infact and the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) which gave examples of lobbying by the industry which, the groups say, is an attempt to "subvert" public health policy.

"The tobacco industry is ruthless in pursuit of profit. In the face of tremendous pressure from tobacco giants, public health and corporate accountability advocates must be steadfast in their pursuit of a strong treaty," said Bejon Misra of Consumer VOICE (India), a member of NATT.

The report said a tobacco company representative tried to contact a Zambian delegate during a previous round of tobacco talks and alleged that firms had set up an association to take part in national treaty preparations. It also criticised the industry for its charitable donations and other sponsorship which it described as "unparliamentary lobbying".

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