According to the measures adopted by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) over the past few years, tobacco manufacturers now show clean hands by offering new products that comply with health requirements.
Philip Morris International (PMI) therefore unveiled a few months ago its new iQos, a heat stick containing tobacco that is heated instead of burnt. According to the tobacco manufacturer, this new innovation is 90% less harmful than a classical tobacco cigarette. With this new product, PMI appears to comply with the FCTC rules. They even invested billions of dollars in new product development.
Appearances can actually be deceptive. According to a large investigation led by the press agency Reuters which unveils the cigarette manfacturer’s maneuvers, Philip Morris has tried in the past to influence the decisions taken by the FCTC.
The FCTC was created thanks to a 2005 treaty that rasembles 168 countries. They meet every 2 years during conferences that aim at proposing new regulations for tobacco control.
Philip Morris has infiltrated the FCTC
Even though all tobacco manufacturers are well aware of these conferences, they are not invited. But Philip Morris managed to discreetly take part in those meetings. In their investigation, Reuters revealed that the tobacco industry leader infiltrated those meetings by approaching or influencing some of its members. Their goal: to engage into a fight against the FCTC’s tobacco control disposals.
To back their findings, the Reuters agency published some internal documents of PMI. Among them, we can find an email sent by Chris Kodderman, PMI’s Public Affairs Director congratulating 30 employees. He most specifically ackowledges their efforts during an October 2014 meeting of the FCTC. During which they were acting to minimize or oppoze some FCTC protocols.
PMI’s Management is fighting those claims by underlining how important the interactions with the decision-makers are. According to a spokesperson, it is legitimate to express their viewpoint. “We are of course interacting with governments and share our viewpoint with them, as any other firm might do”.