A series of investigative articles by The New York Times beginning June 30, 2015 exposed how the US Chamber of Commerce tried life-saving measures to reduce tobacco use. In response to the Times coverage, concerned parties including United States corporations, lawmakers and the media acted and spoke up in protest. CVS Health resigned from the US Chamber, and a group of United States Senators released a public statement critical of the US Chamber and sent letters to the member companies of the US Chamber’s Board of Directors asking about their positions on the Chamber’s efforts to fight tobacco control measures.
Now, a group of public interest and international public health organizations have released “Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco.” This report and the case studies below provide additional information about more than a dozen instances in which the US. Chamber and local American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) affiliates have intervened on behalf of some of the world’s biggest tobacco companies to interfere with countries’ efforts to pass and implement proven, life-saving policies. The US Chamber’s lobbying on behalf of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is shown to be a global, systematic pattern of activity. In many cases, tobacco companies hold membership or leadership positions in AmCham chapters. Examples of actual letters sent by the US Chamber to officials in countries working to pass tobacco control policies are also provided.
“Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco” was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Public Citizen, Corporate Accountability International, the Framework Convention Alliance, Action on Smoking and Health (US), Smoke-Free Partnership, InterAmerican Heart Foundation, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the African Tobacco Control Alliance.