Tobacco products are unique: they cause chronic diseases for their active and passive consumers (cancer, cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases); they prematurely kill one in two loyal consumers (700 000 annual deaths in the European Union(1); the cost of tobaccorelated diseases weighs considerably more than the tax revenues from tobacco products(2); and productivity losses related to tobacco are far from negligible.
Faced with this public health scourge and despite intense lobbying by the tobacco industry, governments have reacted at the international (WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – FCTC), European (Tobacco Products Directive – TPD) or national level by adopting tobacco control measures.
The tobacco industry is a highly concentrated economic player, with four multinationals (British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco, Philip Morris International) dominating three quarters of the world market outside China(4). The global tobacco market is valued at near 570 billion euros(5). This very special industry uses all possible channels to keep its harmful business. Among these channels, trade or investment treaties are of particular interest to multinational tobacco companies.
Read more on the international trade agreements and their implications for tobacco control.