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02.11.2021 |Media releases

Tobacco Industry Lobby Index: Switzerland ranks second to last worldwide

Switzerland comes in an inglorious 79th place (out of 80) in the new 2021 Tobacco Lobby Index, only just ahead of the Dominican Republic. Once again it becomes clear: the tobacco industry interferes massively in Swiss politics in order to be able to freely market and sell its deadly and harmful products.

With 92 out of a possible 100 points, Switzerland is in 79th place (out of a total of 80 states) and is thus considered particularly industry-friendly. Among the 16 participating European states, Switzerland scores the worst. The first three ranks, thus the nations where the influence of the tobacco industry is lowest, are occupied by Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

20 indicators on commercial interests of the tobacco industry

The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index is an international tobacco lobby index produced by the Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC) and is based on 20 indicators that follow the guidelines set out in Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It measures the efforts of governments to tackle tobacco industry influence. A point system is used for the evaluation. The higher the score, the worse the country rates and the greater the industry's influence. Thus, the interference of the tobacco industry in political decision-making and legislative processes is particularly high in Switzerland, with 92 points.

Switzerland as a playground for the tobacco industry

In Switzerland, as in many other countries, the tobacco industry prevents and delays any development in public health policy that could harm its interests. It interferes in discussions on regulatory measures, influences decision-makers and uses numerous lobbyists to disseminate biased information and represent its interests. The most recent example: After more than six years of work, the parliament passed a disappointing Tobacco Products Act on 1 October: with the law, Switzerland will continue to have the weakest rules on tobacco advertising in Europe and will thus remain at the bottom of the league in tobacco prevention – a direct result of the tobacco industry's massive lobbying.

As Switzerland fails to ratify the FCTC, the tobacco industry benefits greatly from the minimal federal laws on tobacco control: for example, the tobacco tax has not been raised since 2013 and the industry can market its products virtually unhindered. Thus, it serves as a playground for the multinational tobacco companies based here, Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) – the global net turnover of these three companies was over 80 billion US dollars for 2019.

Every year, 9,500 people die in Switzerland as a result of smoking. A sad record! And it is foreseeable that nothing will change in this regard any time soon. As the report points out, new laws and measures aimed at regulating traditional and new tobacco and nicotine products – as well as their marketing – are weakened by the industry, ultimately undermining public health.

Read the full report here.

For questions, please contact:

Wolfgang Kweitel, Public Affairs, wolfgang.kweitel@at-schweiz.ch / Tel. 031 599 10 22 Arbeitsgemeinschaft Tabakprävention Schweiz

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