Tobacco firms used the fight against HIV/AIDS as a smokescreen to hinder tobacco control efforts in developing countries, researchers have revealed. Big tobacco companies lobbied for funding and initiatives to combat AIDS to distract from the health problems caused by smoking and prevent regulations restricting tobacco use, a paper says.
“In both Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco championed the AIDS response in order to delegitimize efforts to develop the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” says the paper published in the Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS on 29 March. The convention was eventually adopted in 2003.
“Transnational tobacco companies aimed to generate competition between the two health issues for resources and policy attention to protect their interests from stronger regulation,” the authors write.