In the Philippines, there is a contradiction: while there are policies addressing tobacco industry interference, the undeniable fact remains that the tobacco industry is considered a stakeholder in developing tobacco control policies.
In 2020, the tobacco industry took advantage of the opportunities presented by
the COVID-19 pandemic. It increased its visibility through provision of urgent donations to hospitals, to different government agencies, and to communities. They relied on old partners and tapped new ones. This not only allowed them to strengthen their relationship with the government, but also, build up a positive perception with the public. While positioning itself as a good samaritan, it is
also pushing for favorable policies, lobbying to weaken regulations on novel tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products, and asking for exemption from restrictive classification of tobacco as a “non-essential good.” While different countries all over the world are recognizing
that protection of public health from tobacco industry interference is an important
step to ensure that their goals for tobacco control are achieved, the tobacco industry quickly adapts its strategies and tactics to protect its business.
Thus, monitoring and reporting tobacco industry interference is crucial, not only in identifying and counteracting what the industry is doing, but also identifying the patterns and how the industry is changing its strategies.