The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released its investigative report into the tobacco industry’s global lobbying campaign.
The investigation, called Smoke Screen – big tobacco’s global lobbying campaign, traces how multinational tobacco companies, faced with stagnant sales and health-conscious governments in developed nations, have targeted expansion in developing countries and emerging markets.
Smokescreen reporters investigated an array of industry efforts to delay or derail smoking reforms – ranging from hard-nosed lobbying and lawsuits to charitable donations and outright payoffs.
Thirteen ICIJ reporters conducted hundreds of interviews with leading politicians, government regulators, health-care specialists, tobacco control activists, and current and former industry executives.
The project examines six countries as case studies – India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Uruguay. In each of these places, court and government records are being mined – in some cases testing new freedom of information laws. And a trove of tobacco industry documents, made public after the industry lost landmark lawsuits in US courts, are being examined to draw connections between past practices and present-day consequences of tobacco’s hard lobbying.