Tobacco industry attempts to counter the World Bank report Curbing the Epidemic and obstruct the WHO framework convention on tobacco control

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Dec;67(11):1690-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.09.062. Epub 2008 Oct 22.


In 1999 the World Bank published a landmark study on the economics of tobacco control, Curbing the Epidemic: Governments and the Economics of Tobacco Control (CTE), which concluded that tobacco control brings unprecedented health benefits without harming economies, threatening the transnational tobacco companies' ability to use economic arguments to dissuade governments from enacting tobacco control policies and supporting the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). We used tobacco industry documents to analyze how tobacco companies worked to discredit CTE. They hired public relations firms, had academics critique CTE, hired consultants to produce "independent" estimates of the importance of tobacco to national economies, and worked through front groups, particularly the International Tobacco Growers' Association, to question CTE's findings. These efforts failed, and the report remains an authoritative economic analysis of global tobacco control during the ongoing FCTC negotiations. The industry's failure suggests that the World Bank should continue their analytic work on the economics of tobacco control and make tobacco control part of its development agenda.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Propaganda*
  • Public Relations
  • Social Control Policies / economics*
  • Social Control Policies / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Industry / economics*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / economics*
  • United Nations*
  • World Health Organization*