This week, one of Big Tobacco’s foremost front groups, the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC), has responded to pressure from the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and public health advocates by cutting ties with the tobacco industry.
This is a huge blow to the industry. ITIC, a Washington, D.C.-based corporate think tank, has lobbied as a front group for Big Tobacco for decades. ITIC has attempted to undermine tobacco taxation proposals at negotiations for the global tobacco treaty, weaken national tobacco taxation policies, and even intimidate one of our close partners in Thailand on Big Tobacco’s behalf.
This move indicates how much of a pariah Big Tobacco has become. It also follows a global trend of institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank and even corporations like CVS distancing themselves from Big Tobacco due to the reputational risk associated with advancing the interests of an industry that peddles products that kill half of their users.
In response to this development, Cloe Franko, Senior International Organizer, issued the following statement:
“ITIC’s move should erase any doubt: Big Tobacco is a pariah and toxic liability that causes even its front groups to back away. ITIC, along with other corporate front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has served as the tobacco industry’s mouthpiece for decades. We’re calling on more governments and institutions to do what’s right for public health and cut ties with the tobacco industry.”