Resources: Case Studies
India: Advocates Protest Government Participation in India Tobacco Company Corporate Social Responsi
In India, the country’s largest cigarette manufacture, India Tobacco Company (ITC), sponsors “National Recycling Day” in multiple cities where the company operates. During the July 2012 celebration in the city of Chennai, ITC invited 10,000 school children, government officials, and local celebrities to participate. Advocates launched a campaign throughout Chennai, condemning the event as a violation of the FCTC and calling for government officials to not participate.
In 2012, a tobacco industry trade publication, announced that Turkey would be the new site for a global tobacco trade show - World Tobacco 2013 – because of the country’s position in the global tobacco market and its reputation as a leading regional trading hub. Tobacco control partners invoked Turkey’s strong laws and status as a Party to the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) to argue that the conference was in violation of Turkish law and advocate for the cancellation of the event.
Costa Rica: Successful Media Campaign allows Tobacco Control Advocates to Overcome Years of Industry
By creating a media campaign relaying the stories of tobacco victims, including the harmful effects on children, RENATA and En-Comunicación appealed to public interest and were well received by the press, resulting in widespread media coverage throughout the process. As a result, on March 22, 2012 the President of the Republic of Costa Rica signed the “General Law on Tobacco Control and its Harmful Effects on Health.”
After advocates executed a high profile media campaign (both in Pakistan and internationally) using traditional and social media to call public attention to Philip Morris’ blatant violation of advertising restrictions, the Civil Magistrate of Hyderabad issued an arrest warrant for the Philip Morris Pakistan’s marketing executive in early February 2012.
Brazil: Strong Advocacy Efforts Thwart Tobacco Industry Attempts to Weaken Tobacco Control Legislati
In 2009, the tobacco industry successfully blocked a significant tobacco tax increase by lobbying the largest and most influential party in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies at the time, the Partido Revolutionario Institucional (PRI). Following this public health defeat, tobacco control advocates launched a well-coordinated campaign to promote a tax increase in 2010.
Tobacco control advocates in India discovered early on that GTNF 2010 was being sponsored by a government agency, the Tobacco Board, a violation of Article 5 of India’s comprehensive tobacco control law, Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), which bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Advocates quickly mobilized to protest against any government involvement in the conference, to ensure that all measures of COTPA were being adhered to, as well as to highlight the exploitation of India by the tobacco industry.
Tobacco industry actions prevented the Philippines from fulfilling its FCTC obligations for strong tobacco control. Working with the Department of Health a group of advocates formed a committee to raise awareness of tobacco control and Article 5.3 including warning against the dangers of partnering with the tobacco industry, the need for strong tobacco control policies in government, and the need to promote integrity and transparency in light of tobacco industry influence.
In early April 2010, tobacco control advocates discovered that international singing star and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson’s April 29th concert in Jakarta, Indonesia was being sponsored by an Indonesian tobacco company. Over a two day period, fans of Clarkson and advocates posted hundreds of comments on Clarkson’s Facebook page and Twitter account and sent more than 1900 e-mails to the singer’s management company asking her to drop the tobacco sponsorship. On April 22, 2010 Clarkson’s concert promoter in Indonesia announced that the LA Lights sponsorship and promotions would be removed from the concert.
India: Advocates Call for Government Enforcement of Advertising Ban to Shut Down Four Square Concert
Godfrey Philips India violated Indian law by sponsoring a concert series and singing competition using its number one selling brand Four Square. Following extensive media coverage surrounding advocacy efforts to expose the advertising, promotion and sponsorship violation, the state government of Tamil Nadu announced that the concerts were illegal and banned.
At the end of 2009, tobacco industry interference was suspected when an important clause about tobacco in the Indonesian Health Bill was removed before it was signed into law. Due to the criminal nature of the deletion, tobacco control advocates called for investigations by the government and police into the government entities involved.
Tobacco executives from around the world gathered at TABINFO Asia 2009 to discuss ways to better promote their deadly product in emerging Asian markets. Due to Thailand’s strictly regulated market, advocates found that components of the exhibition and conference were in violation of Thai law. Additionally, the involvement of Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, the state owned tobacco company under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, was a clear violation of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control’s 5.3 guidelines.
British American Tobacco’s subsidiary Souza Cruz, Brazil’s largest producer of cigarettes systematically increased their sponsorships of legal conferences in 2008 and 2009. Advocates were able to enlist the support of a public prosecutors association which has agreed to no longer accept money from Souza Cruz.
In China, local tobacco companies under the umbrella of state-owned China National Tobacco Company (CNTC) heavily promote their deadly products through sponsorships and donations. Between November 2008 and October 2009, tobacco control advocates in China were active in several campaigns urging the government and other partners to comply with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s (FCTC) Articles 5.3 and 13.
At the annual shareholders meeting in New York City on May 5, 2009, PMI executives applauded the company’s success in emerging markets such as Indonedia, Russia, Turkey and Mexico, where PMI aggressively targets new consumers. Advocates gained access to the meeting and PMI’s top executive was confronted with statements about the exploitation of developing countries, the violation of laws, and marketing towards youth. Extensive media was generated in the US and in other countries about PMI’s exploitation of developing countries.
Despite the August 2008 ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship in Mexico (General Law on Tobacco Control, article 23), PMI continued its sponsorship of the annual Marlboro MXBeat festival in Guadalajara, Puebla, Monterrey and Mexico City featuring bands from Australia, Brazil, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Local and international advocacy groups urged artists to call for an end to the tobacco sponsorship. Advocates in Mexico also called on the Mexican government to enforce the newly passed national law.
In July 2008, tobacco control advocates discovered that U.S. recording artist Alicia Keys’ image and music was being exploited by Philip Morris International (PMI) to sell cigarettes. Keys’ Indonesian concert was advertised as “A Mild Live Production,” A Mild being a popular Indonesian kretek cigarette brand produced by PMI’s Indonesian subsidiary, Sampoerna. After being informed of the sponsorship, Keys moved quickly to ensure that the tobacco sponsorship was removed and that her image was no longer associated with the tobacco product.