Tobacco Europe

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Tobacco Europe (TE), known until mid-2019 as The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM), is a European Union lobbying organisation funded and controlled by the tobacco industry.1 It promotes what it calls “reasonable and workable tobacco regulation” in the EU.2

Background

TE is an observer member of the REACH Tobacco Industry Platform.  TE provides secretarial services for REACH. It also provides “occasional funding” to Forest EU.3

As of October 2020, British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial Brands were listed as “full members” of TE.2

Members

TE’s controlling members are three large European-based tobacco manufacturers:2

The organisation’s funding comes from the three controlling members, who each pay an annual membership fee of equal size. Only these three “full members” pay fees.3

Philip Morris left CECCM in 2006.4

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company (now owned by BAT) was previously an “observer member”.

TE also serves as a coordinating body for European tobacco manufacturers’ associations. As of October 2020, the following were listed:2

  • Belgium – CIMABEL
  • Denmark – Tobaksproducenterne
  • Finland – FTIF
  • Germany – DZV
  • Greece – ESKEE
  • Ireland – ITMAC
  • Netherlands – VSK
  • Spain – ADELTA
  • Sweden – STMA
  • United Kingdom – Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA)

Tobacco organisations previously associated with CECCM include:5

  • Estonia – TEA
  • Hungary – HATI
  • Latvia – STS
  • Lithuania – NGTA

Leadership

The Tobacco Europe Board of Directors and Executive Committee are composed of employees of JTI, BAT and Imperial Brands.6 An up-to-date list of their membership can be found on TE’s website.

In 2020, its single staff member was Nathalie Darge, Director of EU Affairs.36

Former staff and board members include:

Affiliations

In 2020, Tobacco Europe was affiliated with the following organisations, according to its entry on the European Union lobbying register:3

Previously it had also listed:

Links to Pro-Tobacco Organisations

In addition to its policy positions, funding and membership, it also has historic ties to prominent pro-tobacco organisations.

The Adam Smith Institute

In 1992, CECCM’s board approved proposals for two separate but complementary projects to be commissioned with a budget of GB£30,000. The first proposal was for an Adam Smith Institute (ASI) “report by Russell Lewis and Timothy Evans of some 20,000 to 25,000 words”. The Group noted:

“The report would position the EC anti-tobacco proposals in the context of a host of proposals which progressively restrict personal freedom, and present a punitive counter-argument for the traditional values of European individual freedom. The ASI has agreed in principle to adopt the proposed report and effectively to market it as an ASI report. The ASI has contacts with a number or institutes across Europe and will attempt, if required, a collaborative public relations campaign on the report; its tobacco report may therefore be expected to generate substantial press and media coverage.”89

A year later in 1993, the ASI published a book Europe at Risk – Bureaucratic Betrayal of the European Ideal, by Tim Evans and Russell Lewis (also see below). The book said:

“One of the most disturbing features of the European Community in recent years has been the proliferation of campaigns designed to restrict personal freedom and individual choice. The nanny state has gone beyond mere warnings and now is taking positive action to protect us from the alleged dangers of alcohol, tobacco and certain foods. Around the Commission has sprung up a huge lobby, with its own vested interests, systematically seeking to impose upon individuals its own ‘politically correct’ views.”10

Nowhere in its booklet did the ASI say the tobacco lobby funded the book.10

Later in 1993, CECCM’s Advertising and Sponsorship Study Group “unanimously recommended” that another proposal by Tim Evans for a further book entitled Where Europe? An analysis of the rise of political paternalism in developed democratic States be commissioned at a total cost of GB£15,800 (including underwriting publishing costs). CECCM’s Board approved the proposed expenditure.11

Freedom to Smoke

In mid-1990s, CECCM ran an industry committee called “Freedom to Smoke” on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), now more commonly referred to as second-hand smoke. The minutes of a Corporate Members’ Sub-Committee on Freedom to Smoke meeting held in June 1995 show that a broad range of the tobacco industry was represented:12

  • R. L. J. Toet, (Chair), CECCM
  • M. Amauts, RJ Reynolds (RJR, subsidiary of BAT since 2017) – Brussels
  • M. van Boven, Rothmans International Europe (RIE, acquired by BAT in 1999) – Amsterdam
  • H. Bryan, British American Tobacco (BAT)
  • S. Carlson, Philip Morris – EMA – Lausanne
  • W.Dembach, RJR – Cologne
  • A J. Nelmes, Gallaher (bought by JTI in 2007)
  • W. D. Rowland, Rothmans International (RIT) – Denham
  • P. Sadler, Imperial
  • J. Sullivan, Philip Morris – Brussels
  • C. de Vallois, CECCM
  • B. Halligan, CIPA (a public affairs consultancy)
  • (Apologies) R. Pauling, Reemtsma (a German tobacco company, subsidiary of Imperial since 2002)
  • (Apologies) M. Winokur, Philip Morris International – New York

At the meetings, held every two months, the industry and the lobby organisations discussed new regulation and developments in the various European countries. Courtesy campaigns were key in 1995; in the UK the possible smoking ban on pubs was being dealt with by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association at the level of magistrates, the Home Office and also brewers. In the same minutes quoted here, Forest is praised for “working hard on this issue and … making numerous contacts with the brewery federation”.12

Links with John Luik

In 1993, CECCM hired John Luik to write a paper attacking the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 1992 Risk Assessment on second hand tobacco smoke, The Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking – Lung Cancer and Other Disorders.13

Lobbying

Tobacco Europe has regularly published statements critical of tobacco control regulations in the European Union, including plain packaging.1415

In 2020, TE declared that it had spent between EU€600, 000 and EU€699, 999 on lobbying.3

Criticised EU Consultation on TPD Revision

In 2011, CECCM criticised the report of the European Commission’s consultation on the possible revision to the EU Tobacco Products Directive Revision (TPD), written by the Director-General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO). CECCM questioned the “accuracy and transparency of the report” and argued that ” views of CECCM member companies, which represent over 50% of cigarette market, are not accurately reflected”.16

Used False Trademark Claims

In 2000, CECCM briefed the European Union on the industry’s position on a proposed ban on ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes. It claimed the proposal would be a violation of TRIPS and Paris Convention in the case of names such as ‘Mild Seven’ – even though the industry has long known that trademark laws offer tobacco companies little protection.17

Lobbying Strategy

“Normal” Relations Despite Being from the Tobacco Industry

In 1999, then-CECCM Secretary General Antonella Pederiva identified the medium and long-term perspectives for CECCM on its lobbying strategy. The paper noted that “normally, professional associations can count on a receptive environment in order to establish an ongoing discussion process,” however, “this is not the case with the tobacco industry”:

“The priority is to develop and maintain a contact network with speaking partners in the different Institutions, in particular the European Commission, with MEPs and representatives of the Member States, dealing with tobacco issues.

A solid contact network is the result of constructive dialogue, exchange of good and objective information and figures, personal investment and respect. A solid contact network allows the industry to pass its messages and try to influence the decisional process. The EU Institutions should consider CECCM as such a direct and credible counterpart in any discussion on tobacco related issues. CECCM is representing a responsible industry producing fully respectable and widely used products. Relationships with the EU authorities should be “normal” as they are for any other industry.”18

The “Contact Net” at the Commission

Pederiva went on to argue that a “meeting of a high level CECCM delegation with the President of the Commission and the most relevant Commissioners for our industry should be organized, in order to position CECCM as “the” Association representing the tobacco sector”.18

She also identified which departments to target:

“DGs/Departments: Relationships already existing should be improved and strengthened, in particular with the new “Health and consumer protection” department (ex DG V and DG XXIV), the “taxation” department (ex DG XXI), “internal market and industrial affairs” (ex DG III and DG XV) and “agriculture and fisheries” (ex DG VI and DG XIV) departments.”

An informal monthly visit should be paid to the most relevant officials of the “health and consumer protection” department, as far as they are and will be the major legislators in the tobacco sector. The visit could be an informal chat on how things are going and on the latest news. At least one official in each of the other departments, involved in the discussion of tobacco issues, should be identified and contacted, so as to complete the contact net in the Commission. It is important to trace these officials that may give information and help in any inter-services procedure on draft of legislation. This research of key officials has already been launched, despite the difficulties of tracing officials and contacting them.”

Cabinets: A speaking partner in each of the new Cabinets has to be identified. Priority to be given to Internal Market and Industrial affairs – Taxation – Health and Consumer protection – Agriculture Cabinets. These key people have to be met.”18

Lobbying by Public Affairs Agency

CECCM contracted a public affairs agency, CIPA, to monitor the decision making process in Brussels. Brendan Halligan was often present at CECCM meetings on its behalf.

In December 1993, when the European Parliament adopted a Motion for Resolution on Health Education in Schools, CECCM’s director asked CIPA to monitor the tabling of amendments “in case any of them should call for indirect lobbying counter-action on our behalf”.19

Relevant Links

Tobacco Europe website: tobacco-europe.eu

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. LobbyFacts.eu, Tobacco Europe, 25 April 2019, accessed October 2020
  2. abcdTobacco Europe, About Us, undated, accessed October 2020
  3. abcdeEuropean Commission, Tobacco Europe, EU Transparency Register, updated 16 September 2020, accessed October 2020
  4. Leila Polomé, Email to Anna Gilmore, CECCM Office Assistant, 23 June 2009
  5. Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers, CECCM Members, undated, archived August 2011, accessed November 2020
  6. abTobacco Europe, Team, undated, accessed October 2020
  7. Michiel Reerink, LinkedIn profile, accessed October 2020
  8. The Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers, Minutes of Board Meeting, 8 September 1992, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: zmhc0199
  9. Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers, Abbreviated Minutes of Board Meeting, 8 September 1992, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: fnhc0199
  10. abC. Davies, T. Evans, L. Russell, Adam Smith Institute, Europe at Risk: Bureaucratic Betrayal and the European Ideal, 1993, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: slrc0199
  11. Unknown, Extract of Minutes of Board Meeting, 2 September 1993, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: rjgc0199
  12. abUnknown, Minutes of the Corporate Members Sub-Committee on Freedom to Smoke, 28 June 1995, ID: mzjx0093
  13. J Luik, No Title, 27 July 1998, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: tjgk0102
  14. Tobacco Europe, UK Plain Packaging Showing No Impact, 24 May 2018, accessed January 2020
  15. Tobacco Europe, CECCM Declares Plain Packaging a Failure, 1 December 2017, accessed January 2020
  16. Antonella Pederiva, Concerns on DG SANCO Report on the Public Consultation on the Possible Revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC), Letter to Ms Testori Coggi, 5 October, 2011
  17. Unknown, Commission Proposal (1999) 594 on Tobacco Products, Unknown, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: tzmh0208
  18. abcA. Pederiva, Medium and long-term Perspectives for CECCM lobbying, 8 December 1999, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, ID: hrdm0197
  19. John Lepere, Letter from CECCM to B. Halligan at CIPA 13 December 1993