Brunei least affected by tobacco industry interference, says study

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Brunei tops this year’s list as the country with least tobacco industry (TI) interference with a score 14, according to the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023.

The global study conducted in 90 countries, assesses how the government responded to the TI’s tactics by using the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3.

The lower the score, the lower the overall level of interference it indicates. Brunei, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands and Botswana ranked best overall.

The index is based on publicly available information on TI interference in countries and their governments’ responses to the interference.

For the 80 countries that updated their previous reports, interference and responses were measured from April 2021 to March 2023.

For the 10 new countries, interference and responses were measured from January 2019 to March 2023. The countries are ranked according to total scores provided by civil society groups, who prepared their country indices.

In its findings, Brunei, the Philippines, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are implementing their sector-wide codes of conduct, guidance or circulars on Article 5.3 guidelines.

The report said the Brunei government does not accept, support or endorse any offer for assistance by or in collaboration with the TI or any entity or person working to further its interest in setting or implementing public health policies in relation to tobacco control.

The government is not allowed to support, form partnerships with or receive any contributions from the TI including corporate social responsibility related activities or contributions.

The TI has intensified its interference in public health policy. Governments are obligated under the WHO FCTC to protect their health policies using Article 5.3 and its implementing guidelines, which provide actions governments can take to protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of TI and those who further its interests. – Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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