Lobby Groups

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Background

Using Lobby Groups is one of the ways in which Tobacco Companies are Lobbying Decision Makers. Lobby Groups act on behalf of the tobacco industry, contacting regulators and policy makers with the aim to influence regulation and legislation.
The page on Lobbying Decision Makers explains the issue in more detail, discussing – amongst other things – the difference, or rather, the thin line between direct and indirect lobbying. Lobby groups speaking on behalf of the industry could be understood as direct lobbying – specifically if it is transparent who has paid them to do this. Transparency, however, is a treasure hard to find in this line of business. Apart from the groups mentioned above, Think Tanks or other policy institutions can also be involved in (indirect)lobbying.
On this page is a selection of lobbying groups, pressure groups and trade associations from around the world. Many are clearly associated with the industry as their representatives. Others echo industry arguments and do not reveal any of their donors. None of these organisations have broken any laws. For many of them we provide individual pages giving even more background information which can be found by clicking on the title of the organisation.

Lobbying and Pressure Groups

Lobbying and Pressure Groups
Acción Técnica Social (ATS)
ATS states that it is a non-profit corporation that has been “working with governments and local, national and international organisations to design and implement public policies, programs and strategies” since 2007 [translated].1 It runs a project titled ‘Nicotine Risk and Damage Reduction’[translated]2 and has promoted the use of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and snus.34 Philip Morris International has admitted to having a contract with and receiving advice from ATS, stating “It’s a local civil society organisation and has important links to decisionmakers, so of course there are spaces where they’ve provided us with advice”.5 
Aliansi Masyarkat Tembakau Indonesia (AMTI)
AMTI was established in 2010 as a “forum for struggle for tobacco farmers, workers, consumers, retailers, and cigarette manufacturers”[translation].6  It was founded by PT HM Sampoerna Tbk, an Indonesian tobacco company owned by Philip Morris International, and other industry linked organisations including the Indonesian Clove Farmers Association (APCI) and the Indonesian Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI).7 AMTI has regularly lobbied against tobacco control measures including a ban on cigarette and tobacco product advertising and increases in tobacco taxes.8910
Asosiasi Petani Tembakau Indonesia (APTI)
APTI, the Indonesian Tobacco Farmers Association [translation], was established in 200011. It mobilizes tobacco farmers to oppose and protest against tobacco control measures.12 It has frequently lobbied against increases in excise tax,12 and has spoken out against the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, urging the government not to ratify the treaty.13
Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform “opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle”14 Unsurprisingly this includes cigarette and e-cigarette taxes.15. It is led by veteran activist Grover Norquist who also serves on other think tanks and pressure groups.16. It does not disclose its donors but has taken tobacco industry funding with Altria giving money to its educational arm in 2018.17
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) is a lobby group which campaigns against tax increases in Australia.18 It has opposed increases in tobacco excise duties,19 as well as other tobacco control measures including import bans20 and plain packaging, echoing industry arguments that it does not work.21 It has also supported the legalisation of e-cigarettes.2223 ATA does not disclose its funders, but has admitted to receiving ad-hoc social media advice from a British American Tobacco consultant,24 and in 2021 reportedly partnered with a vaping retail group funded by Philip Morris International to try to overturn nicotine e-cigarette laws in Australia.25 ATA’s ‘Legalise Vaping Australia’ initiative is listed as a partner of the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), and ATA’s President Brian Marlow sits on WVA’s advisory board.2627 
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
This “citizens advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes”28 has lobbied the WHO against plain packaging proposals in 201629 and 2018.30 In 2012 it released a report called “How much is contraband tobacco costing taxpayers in Ontario?” which concluded that high taxes were to blame to smuggling, echoing industry arguments.31. The Federation is listed as a member of the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco whose members also include Crime Stoppers International and whose funding is predominantly from Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council and major tobacco companies including Imperial Tobacco Canada and a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco International.32. The Federation refuses to reveal its donors in part because it says it wants to protect them from retribution.33
Consumer Choice Center
The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) is a lobby group which was set up by the US-based Students for Liberty in 2017, with staff in the United States, Canada and the EU. The CCC promotes looser regulation of consumer products in reportedly over 100 countries, covering, for example food and agriculture policies, food ad soda taxes, food labelling, health care and tobacco harm reduction. CCC has received funding from Japan Tobacco International, who co-funded its launch event and is a member of the Center, and Philip Morris International.
EFFAT
The European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) represents 120 trade unions across the European Union. Leaked internal documents from Philip Morris International (PMI) revealed that EFFAT’s EU tobacco products directive lobbying activities were part of a larger, comprehensive and well-financed PMI campaign to undermine tobacco control policy. Although it denies tobacco industry funding, some of its member unions represent tobacco companies.
Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA)
FAIFA is an Indian Farmer’s association which has often opposed what it calls “extreme tobacco control measures”.34 FAIFA made a petition to the Delhi High Court against Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and India hosting COP7, drawing on farmers right to grow tobacco and calling for looser regulations.35
Forest
Set up in 1979, the “Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco” repeats industry arguments on any topic while claiming to represent ordinary smokers. Historically, it has received a large proportion of its funding from tobacco companies.
The Freedom Association
Set up in 1975, this right-wing pressure group has regularly campaigned against tobacco controls. Key figures have worked with other libertarian organisations which echo industry arguments on issues such as indoor smoking bans. The association does not reveal its funders but has previously denied tobacco funding.
Hong Kong Against Illicit Trade
Hong Kong Against Illicit Trade is an advocacy organisation which focuses on creating awareness about the challenges that illicit trade brings to society.36Philip Morris Asia and the Coalition on Tobacco Affairs (CTA) are members of this organisation.37It echoes industry arguments on the causes and solutions to Tobacco Smuggling though denies it is focussed solely on that issue.38
Keep America Beautiful
Its mission is to inspire people to “improve and beautify their community environment”.39 On its board of directors is Greg Ray, SVP for smokable Manufacturing at Philip Morris International. He sits with senior exec from Pepsi, McDonalds, Dow Dupont and other multinationals.40 Its 2009 national litter survey found that tobacco products comprise 38% of all roadway litter. Its action was to have more bins and educate the public on individual responsibility. ref>Keep America Beautiful, Fact Sheet, website, undated, accessed July 2019[/ref]
Koalisi Indonesia Bebas Tar (KABAR)
KABAR was established in 2017 as a coalition between health organizations committed to “increasing public awareness about hazard reduction approaches, especially those related to tar hazards”[translated].4142 It has lobbied for “alternative tobacco products”, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, to be regulated differently from cigarettes and has promoted the use of these products.4344 KABAR is funded by PT HM Sampoerna Tbk, a Philip Morris International subsidiary and producer of heated tobacco products.41
National Taxpayers Union
This well-established group based in the United States campaigns for lower taxes and minimal government spending.45 Historically it been close with the tobacco industry with industry documents showing links back to 1991.46 In 2017 Reynolds American donated $26,000 to the Union.47 It lobbied the WHO against plain packaging proposals in 201648 and 2018.49
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union
Although coy about revealing its backers, it is known that British American Tobacco has donated to the lobby group for at least three years.50 The Union has regularly opposed tobacco control measures and launched a Clear The Air campaign to promote e-cigarette use. Echoing tobacco industry arguments, it says: “Outdated regulations and taxes will mislead cigarette smokers and make healthier options less attractive. That’s why we’ve launched this campaign to clear the air around alternative nicotine products.”51
Property Rights Alliance
Focussed on protecting intellectual property rights, the PRA is an “advocacy project” of the think tank Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The ATR has a long history of tobacco funding and the PRA has taken up industry causes. It co-ordinates lobbying worldwide, most recently around e-cig bans.
Polish Confederation Lewiatan
Polish organisation that describes itself as the “most influential Polish business organization, representing the interests of employers in Poland and the European Union”. This organization has BAT Poland and PMI Poland as its members.52 Its website lists the organisation’s activities over the last 15 years, among which is successfully campaigning against tax rises and other benefits for the tobacco industry. 53
Stop Illegal Trade
Stop Illegal Trade is a media forum which states that its aim is to create awareness of illegal consumer goods. Its website states that the financial support for setting up the site and all associated media advocacy has been provided by two companies, one of which is Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited, a subsidiary of Philip Morris International.54 In line with the tobacco industry’s narrative, Stop Illegal Trade’s communications have stated that increases in cigarette excise duties have led to an increase in illicit tobacco trade, and that this leads to a huge loss to the economy.5556
The TaxPayers’ Alliance
This UK lobby group purports to be a grassroots campaign for lower taxes but doesn’t reveal its funders. It has said that it has no financial ties with tobacco companies. Its personnel are linked to various free-market organisations. It has consistently opposed raising tobacco taxes and PMI considered it an influencer in its opposition against plain packaging.

Retailers Associations

Retailers Associations
Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS)
AACS has a long history of lobbying the government and echoing industry arguments on tobacco control measures, including campaigning against Australia’s plain packaging laws57 and opposing tobacco product tax increases.58 AACS is run by former British American Tobacco (BAT) executive Theo Foukkare and former Philip Morris International (PMI) executive Ben Meredith, and its top tier members and sponsors have included PMI, BAT and Imperial Brands.59 
Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association (ALNA)
The Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association’s (ALNA’s) corporate members include British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris International.60 It was a core member of the tobacco-funded Alliance of Australian Retailers front group that campaigned against the introduction of Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws from 2010-19.6162 It has regularly argued in government submissions that plain packaging has not worked as a tobacco control measure and instead fuels the illicit tobacco trade.62 It has also played a key role in lobbying campaigns pushing to establish an open market for e-cigarettes consumer sales.63
Master Grocers Association (MGA)
The Master Grocers Association (MGA) is a national employers’ industry association for independent grocery, alcohol and hardware stores in Australia. British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International and Imperial Tobacco were listed as corporate partners in MGA’s annual reports from 2016-2018,64 and all three companies sponsored MGA’s GALA ball in 2019.65 It has lobbied against tobacco control measures including the introduction of plain packaging,62 increases in tobacco excise duty,66 raising the minimum tobacco sales age to 21 in Tasmania,67 and restrictions on e-cigarette sales and marketing.68 It has been particularly vocal on illicit tobacco issues, stating that excise increases in tobacco pricing are to blame.66
National Federation of Retail Newsagents
Established a century ago it supports independent retailers. It has opposed various tobacco control polices through lobbying and, while its member details are not divulged it is known to have received tobacco funding for specific campaigns
Petrol Retailers Association
Representing independent fuel retailers; the PRA doesn’t disclose its members but has admitted previously they include tobacco companies. Has lobbied against plain packaging proposals echoing industry arguments
Retailers Against Smuggling
Set up in 2009, the organisation lobbies for action on tobacco and fuel smuggling and the impact on retailers in the Republic of Ireland. It echoes industry arguments by making a central demand for “A moratorium on further excise increases until such increases can be proven not to encourage smuggling as a result of price differentials.”69. It has 3,000 members and one of its corporate supporters is the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of P.J. Carroll & Company Limited, JTI Ireland Limited (formerly Gallaher (Dublin) Limited) and John Player & Sons Limited. Respectively British American Tobacco, JTI and Imperial Tobacco companies.
Retailers Association of India (RAI)
India’s main retailer’s association was part of the network of allies mobilised by the tobacco industry to help lobby against proposed larger pictorial health warnings sizes on cigarette packs in 2015.70 The agribusiness/tobacco leaf and lifestyle divisions of BAT’s Indian partner ITC are members. Tobacco company Godfrey Philips India has an executive on RAI’s Northern Regional Council.71

Tobacco Tactics Resources

References

  1. Acción Técnica Social, ¿Què es ATS?, website, archived May 2022, accessed August 2022
  2. Nicotina Reducción de riesgos y daños, Reducción de riesgos y daños, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  3. Acción Técnica Social, Vapear y calendar, no es fumar es hora de regular, August 2022, accessed October 2022
  4. Acción Técnica Social, Las estrategias de reducción de riesgos y daños si son estrategias complementarias contra el tabaquismo, website, October 2022, accessed October 2022
  5. N. Hassan, “Electronic cigarettes and vapers”, a market with confused interests in the country, newswrit.com, April 2022, accessed September 2022
  6. Aliansi Masyarkat Tembakau Indonesia, Profil, website, archived August 2018, accessed September 2022
  7. Aliansi Masyarkat Tembakau Indonesia, Elemen, website, archived October 2016, accessed September 2022
  8. Aliansi Masyarkat Tembakau Indonesia, Pergub DKI soal larangan reklame rokok di media luar ruang diprotes, April 2015, archived April 2017, accessed September 2022
  9. Aliansi Masyarkat Tembakau Indonesia, Kenaikan cukai jangan korbankan petani tembakau, October 2015, archived April 2017, accessed October 2022
  10. Tobacco Free Kids, Tobacco Industry Front Group: The International Tobacco Growers’ Association, website, November 2011, accessed September 2022
  11. EASRD, Indonesia: Empowering Rural Producers Organization, May 2003, accessed August 2022
  12. abWest Java Tobacco Farmers Demonstration of Excise Increase and Cigarette HJE [translated], republika.co.id, November 2019, archived May 2021, accessed September 2022
  13. Tobacco farmers refuse FCTC ratification, Sucofindo, January 2014, archived January 2021, accessed September 2022[ref/][ref]Clean The Air News Tobacco Blog, Farmers Reject FCTC Ratification, June 2016, accessed August 2022
  14. Americans for Tax Reform, About, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  15. L.Duggan, Ohio Gov. DeWine Should Veto Vaping Tax Hike, website, 3 July 2019, accessed July 2019
  16. Americans for Tax Reform, About Grover, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  17. Altria, 2018 grantees list, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  18. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  19. B. Marlow, The government needs to wean itself off tobacco tax, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, September 2020, accessed October 2022
  20. B. Marlow, Tobacco import ban is just a smokescreen, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, June 2019, accessed October 2022
  21. E. Dye, More evidence plain packaging has failed (unless you’re out to hurt the poor), ‘’The Spectator’’, 28 June 2019, accessed July 2019
  22. Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care & Sport: Inquiry into the Use and Marketing of Electronic Cigarettes and Personal Vaporisers in Australia, Joint submission of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) and MyChoice (MC), 2018, archived May 2022, accessed November 2022
  23. Legalise Vaping Australia, About us, undated, accessed October 2022
  24. D. Snow, Australian Taxpayers Alliance under scrutiny over election role, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October 2019, accessed October 2019
  25. N. Chenoweth, More Vaping Lobbyists linked to Big Tobacco, Australian Financial Review, 22 February 2021
  26. World Vapers Alliance, About Us, undated, accessed October 2022
  27. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Our staff, undated, accessed October 2022
  28. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  29. PRA, WHO Letter 2016, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  30. PRA, WHO Letter 2018, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  31. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, How much is contraband tobacco costing taxpayers in Ontario?”, undated, accessed July 2019
  32. National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, About us, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  33. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: WHY THE CTF PROTECTS THE PRIVACY OF ITS DONORS, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  34. FAIFA, History of the Federation, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  35. K.V.Kurmanath, Plea to allow tobacco farmers to take part in Geneva convention, ‘’The Hindu Business Line’’, 10 August 2018, accessed July 2019
  36. HKUAIT, About us, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  37. HKUAIT, Supporting Organisations, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  38. Unknown, Up in smoke: illicit cigarette trade cost Hong Kong government HK$2.5b in lost tax revenues last year, study reveals, ‘’South China Morning Post’’, undated, accessed July 2019
  39. Keep America Beautiful, What We Do, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  40. Keep America Beautiful, Board of Directors, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  41. abKoalisi Indonesia Bebas Tar, Tentang, website, archived August 2022, accessed August 2022
  42. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Koalisi Indonesia Bebas Tar/Indonesia Tar-Free Coalition (KABAR), website, March 2020, accessed September 202
  43. Strategi turunkan prevalensi perokok, produk tembakau alternatif perlu regulasi khusus, tribunnews.com, March 2019, accessed September 2022
  44. Chairman of KABAR supports the use of HPTL products, netral.news/en/, April 2021, archived April 2021, accessed September 2022
  45. National Taxpayers Union, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  46. Unknown, Function Communication, ‘’Truth Tobacco Industry Documents’’, April 1991, accessed July 2019
  47. Unknown, Corporate contributions, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  48. PRA, WHO Letter 2016, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  49. PRA, WHO Letter 2018, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  50. S.Sachdeva, Taxpayers’ Union backed by tobacco giant, ‘’Newsroom’’, 30 January 2019, accessed July 2019
  51. New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, Clear The Air, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  52. PCL, PCL Members, undated, accessed January 2020
  53. PCL, Successful campaigns, undated, accessed January 2020
  54. Stop Illegal Trade, The solution: Tobacco, website, archived June 2022, accessed September 2022
  55. Stop Illegal Trade PK (@ Stop Illegal Trade Pk), ‘When the excise tax increases, the price gap between tax-paid and non-tax paid sector increases. The government fails to achieve annual tax revenue from the cigarette industry. In this vicious cycle, Pakistan loses Rs. 77 billion annually!’, tweet, 25 May 2021,7:06AM
  56. S.Haq, Illicit traders benefiting from pandemic, The Express Tribune, April 2021, archived May 2021, accessed September 2022
  57. Australian Association of Convenience Stores, AACS submission: Federal department of health and ageing: inquiry into tobacco plain packaging, Letter to the House of Representatives, July 2011, accessed October 2022
  58. Australian Association of Convenience Stores, AACS submission re: supplementary 2020-2021 pre-budget, Letter to the Treasurer, August 2020, accessed October 2022
  59. N.Chenoweth, Retail lobby group chief quits but vaping push continues, Financial Review, July 2022, accessed October 2022
  60. Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association, Our Corporate Members, website, archived September 2022, accessed October 2022
  61. The Alliance of Australian Retailers, Who we are, website, undated, accessed March 2011
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  64. MGA, Coporate Membership, 2018 Annual Report, accessed January 2021
  65. MGA, 2019 GALA ball, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  66. abMGA, Advocacy MGA, 2019 Annual Report, accessed September 2022
  67. Tobacco Laws, Independent Retailer, October 2021, accessed October 2022
  68. MGA, Submission to inquiry into the use of electronic cigarettes and personal vaporisers in Australia by the Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee, July 2016, accessed May 2022
  69. RAS, home page, undated, accessed July 2019
  70. The Times of India, RAI and Tobacco, July 2018, accessed January 2020
  71. RAI, Members, undated, accessed January 2020
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