The tobacco industry engaged in derailing the process of tobacco control policy adoption and implementation in Africa, as elsewhere in the world. The interference of the tobacco industry in the policy process occurs at the highest levels of government. ATCA and other regional tobacco control partners have witnessed several such interferences. This page provides an overview of some cases where countries or regional partners responded to the tobacco industry.
BAT intimidation and interference in Kenya
The Tobacco Control Regulations of Kenya were gazetted on 5 December 2014 and implementation was planned to start on 6 June 2015. The government of Kenya demonstrated great leadership in the passage of these regulations, meant to protect millions of Kenyans from tobacco’s highly addictive and deadly effects. However, on 14 April 2015, BAT sued the Ministry of Health of Kenya against the proposed tobacco control regulations, claiming that the Ministry of Health violated due process procedures under the Constitution by not consulting the industry.
Tobacco industry interference in tobacco control in Uganda
On 14 July 2015, the Uganda Tobacco Control Bill (UTCB) was tabled for second reading in the Uganda Parliament. However, shortly after the bill was withdrawn from consideration until further notice. On July 22, 2015, public health organizations committed to tobacco control, concerned with the turn of events and aware that the tobacco industry was engaged in intense lobbying at the highest level of Government, expressed their concern to the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda.
2014: BAT interference in tobacco taxation policy in the ECOWAS and WAEMU
On July 17, 2014, BAT circulated among Ministers of Health of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a document arguing against an increase in tobacco taxation in the region. The campaign of the tobacco industry was initiated as a result of the work undertaken to raise tobacco tax in the ECOWAS and WAEMU by the WHO and other organizations. Regional public health organizations released a Press Statement asking the ECOWAS and WAEMU Member States Governments to remain committed to the effective implementation of the FCTC.
Tobacco Industry Interference in Tobacco Control in Gabon and Ivory Coast
In 2015, the tobacco industry funded a workshop in Gabon and a residential one in Ivory Coast. The objective of the workshops was to allow tobacco companies to contribute to the development and implementation of tobacco control regulations. Both workshops were attended by parliamentarians, senior government officials and tobacco industry representatives. The international tobacco control community responded by issuing letters of protests to President Ali Bongo of Gabon and President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, denouncing the events.