Institute for Competitiveness (I-Com)

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The Institute for Competitiveness (I-Com) is a think tank based in Rome and Brussels.1 I-Com has published content on tobacco and harm reduction in relation to the European Commission’s ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’.2

Background

I-Com was founded in 2005 by, what it describes as, a collection of “scholars, professionals and managers” with the objective “to promote debates and analyses on competitiveness concerning innovation, in the Italian, European and international politico-economic contexts”.3 The think tank focuses on areas such as digitalisation, energy, innovation, health and institutions.3

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

As of 14 October 2020, I-Com listed British American Tobacco’s (BAT) EU Office as a partner on its website. On 14 October, other partners included Amazon, European Energy Retailers, Enel, Google, Huawei, Johnson and Johnson, MSD, and Qualcomm.4

As of 3 November 2020, BAT was no longer listed as a partner.5

The think tank began publishing content on tobacco and harm reduction after World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2020. I-Com joined the European Commission’s public consultation on ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Action Plan’ with the intention of “[contributing] to the EU decision-making process towards the adoption of the European Cancer Plan”.6 The public consultation provided an opportunity for citizens, researchers, policy-makers and other stakeholders to input opinions on best practices for addressing cancer.6

In May 2020, I-Com published an article outlining its contribution to the public consultation. In regard to harm reduction, the article states:6

  • “a harm reduction strategy for smokers should be defined, including the use of alternative nicotine delivery products such as e-cigs. Regulation needs to balance risks and benefits with the aim of reducing smoking through the supply of behavioural support and evaluating the impact through constant monitoring”
  • “a successful cancer plan must be committed to risk reduction and improving daily assistance through continued efforts to decrease smoking rates by preventing the uptake of smoking and promoting cessation through harm reduction plans”

In July 2020, I-Com published a factsheet titled “Cancer Prevention: Better Lifestyle Policies – A Priority for the European Union”.78 The think tank called for public authorities to promote and “encourage harm reduction strategies”.78 The factsheet provided an analysis of stakeholder submissions to the public consultation on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. It revealed that “nearly 20% of contributions supported the definition of harm reduction plans for alcohol and tobacco” and “one in every six recommended policies which encourage the use of reduced risk nicotine products by smokers, such as e-cigarettes”.7

In September 2020, I-Com organised a roundtable discussion on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan involving MEPs. The open platform brought together 50 participants to discuss how the European Parliament can play a role in contributing to the Beating Cancer Plan and best practices for cancer prevention. Speakers at the roundtable included Clive Bates, former Director of ASH, and Konstantinos Poulas, professor at the University of Patras.910

Following the roundtable, the think tank recommended “increasing the availability of smokeless tobacco products” as a means of minimising harms.910

People

  • Stefano Da Empoli – President and Principal Policy Analyst3
  • Mattia Ceracchi – Head of EU Affairs3
  • Eleonora Mazzoni, Head of Innovation Area 3

Use of Think Tanks by the Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry has a history of collaborating with think tanks around the world, to assist in indirect lobbying. These think tanks provide an echo-chamber for key messages from the industry. For more information on think-tanks and allies of the tobacco industry around the world, see Think tanks and Third party techniques.

Tobacco Tactics Resources

References

  1. I-Com, Home Page, I-Com website, undated, accessed October 2020
  2. European Commission, website, https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12154-Europe-s-Beating-Cancer-Plan, undated, accessed October 2020
  3. abcdeI-Com, About Us, I-Com website, undated, accessed October 2020
  4. I-Com, Partners, I-Com website, undated, accessed October 2020
  5. I-Com, Partners, I-Com website, undated, accessed October 2020
  6. abcC. Palla, I-Com expresses its views and promotes better lifestyle policies in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan consultation, I-Com website, 20 May 2020, accessed October 2020
  7. abcI-Com, I-Com published its factsheet on Cancer Prevention and provides a first analysis of the submissions to the Commission’s consultation, I-Com website, 8 July 2020, accessed October 2020
  8. abI-Com, Factsheet, I-Com publication, undated, accessed October 2020
  9. abI-Com, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the roundtable with Montserrat and other top MEPs, I-Com website, 29 September 2020, accessed October 2020
  10. abI-Com, Roundtable Press Release, I-Com publication, 30 September 2020, accessed October 2020