Lobby Groups

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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
Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform “opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle”1 Unsurprisingly this includes cigarette and e-cigarette taxes.2. It is led by veteran activist Grover Norquist who also serves on other think tanks and pressure groups.3. It does not disclose its donors but has taken tobacco industry funding with Altria giving money to its educational arm in 2018.4
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is a grassroots organisation focused on opposing tax increases in Australia.5 It opposes plain-packaging, echoing industry arguments that it does not work6, supports e-cigarettes and is against tobacco control measures such as import bans.7. The organisation does not disclose its funders.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
This “citizens advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes”8 has lobbied the WHO against plain packaging proposals in 20169 and 2018.10 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.11. 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.12. The Federation refuses to reveal its donors in part because it says it wants to protect them from retribution.13
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.
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.
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.14Philip Morris Asia and the Coalition on Tobacco Affairs (CTA) are members of this organisation.15It echoes industry arguments on the causes and solutions to Tobacco Smuggling though denies it is focussed solely on that issue.16
Keep America Beautiful
Its mission is to inspire people to “improve and beautify their community environment”.17 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.18 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]
National Taxpayers Union
This well-established group campaigns for lower taxes and minimal government spending.19 Historically it been close with the tobacco industry with industry documents showing links back to 1991.20 In 2017 Reynolds American donated $26,000 to the Union.21 It lobbied the WHO against plain packaging proposals in 201622 and 2018.23
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.24 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.”25
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.26 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. 27
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
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 2015.28 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.29
Indonesian Clove Farmers Association
APTI is an Indonesian organisation that claims to be a grassroots group representing tobacco farmers. APTI is a member of ITGA, the international association which represents tobacco growers and collaborates with the tobacco industry. The APTI is openly against tobacco regulations and has a history of lobbying the Indonesian government to allow tobacco companies to import local tobacco.30 31
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.”32. 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.

Tobacco Tactics Resources


  1. Americans for Tax Reform, About, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  2. L.Duggan, Ohio Gov. DeWine Should Veto Vaping Tax Hike, website, 3 July 2019, accessed July 2019
  3. Americans for Tax Reform, About Grover, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  4. Altria, 2018 grantees list, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  5. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  6. E.Dye, More evidence plain packaging has failed (unless you’re out to hurt the poor), ‘’The Spectator’’, 28 June 2019, accessed July 2019
  7. Unknown, Australian Taxpayers vs the tobacco import ban, ‘’Catallaxy Files’’, 19 June 2019, accessed July 2019
  8. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  9. PRA, WHO Letter 2016, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  10. PRA, WHO Letter 2018, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  11. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, How much is contraband tobacco costing taxpayers in Ontario?”, undated, accessed July 2019
  12. National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, About us, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  13. Canadian Taxpayers Federation, SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: WHY THE CTF PROTECTS THE PRIVACY OF ITS DONORS, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  14. HKUAIT, About us, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  15. HKUAIT, Supporting Organisations, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  16. 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
  17. Keep America Beautiful, What We Do, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  18. Keep America Beautiful, Board of Directors, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  19. National Taxpayers Union, Home page, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  20. Unknown, Function Communication, ‘’Truth Tobacco Industry Documents’’, April 1991, accessed July 2019
  21. Unknown, Corporate contributions, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  22. PRA, WHO Letter 2016, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  23. PRA, WHO Letter 2018, Property Rights Alliance, undated, accessed July 2019
  24. S.Sachdeva, Taxpayers’ Union backed by tobacco giant, ‘’Newsroom’’, 30 January 2019, accessed July 2019
  25. New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, Clear The Air, website, undated, accessed July 2019
  26. PCL, PCL Members, undated, accessed January 2020
  27. PCL, Successful campaigns, undated, accessed January 2020
  28. The Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/pan-tobacco-sellers-urge-govt-not-to-restrict-products/articleshow/64847893.cms RAI and Tobacco,03 July 2018, accessed January 2020
  29. RAI, https://web.archive.org/web/20190503184205/https://rai.net.in/membership/our-members RAI Members, undated, accessed January 2020
  30. Tobacco Industry Watch, Indonesian Tobacco Farmers, December 2017, accessed July 2019
  31. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, The Tobacco Control Atlas ASEAN Region, September 2018, accessed July 2019
  32. RAS, home page, undated, accessed July 2019
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