Recognizing Initiatives for Tobacco-Free and Lobby-Free Public Policies

“Despite France having fairly good protective measures, the tobacco industry still finds ways to interfere and weaken health policies. We need to remain vigilant and call out the industry on its meddling tactics and affirm those who keep the industry out.”
Emmanuelle Béguinot
Director, Comité National Contre le Tabagisme


Each year, the activity of tobacco companies contribute to the death of eight million people globally,[i] including 75,000 in France. For several decades now, the Comité National Contre le Tabagisme (CNCT) is consistently innovating advocacy activities to expose and campaign against tobacco industry interference at the national level.

France has been a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) since February 27, 2005. Even before the WHO FCTC, France had existing tobacco control legislation in place which is known as the Code of Public Health. However, despite having strong safeguards against tobacco industry interference, a big challenge is the industry’s use of tobacco retailers and representatives to promote its interests.

In the recent Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index (GTI)[ii] France ranked 4th in a survey of 80 countries, indicating a relatively low level of tobacco industry interference. In 2021, as elsewhere, the tobacco industry in the country took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to repair its public image and lobby policy makers to avoid the adoption of preventive measures such as the resumption of a strong tax policy and questioned the harmonizing the taxation of heated tobacco products.

While France is better protected from the influence of the tobacco industry compared to other countries, this does not mean the tobacco industry and those representing its interest are not actively meddling in public policies. The tobacco industry finds a way to interfere. According to CNCT’s executive director the ranking of France in the GTI means public authorities and civil society must remain vigilant in the face of the tobacco industry's recurring attempts to influence public health decisions in the country.

Awarding Tobacco Control Champions and Calling Out Industry Meddlers

In 2021, CNCT launched the third edition of its Index through two roundtable discussions and an award ceremony to highlight best initiatives in protecting public health policies as well as expose worst lobbying practices of the tobacco industry.

The first roundtable discussion focused on the risks and implications of tobacco industry’s harm reduction strategy. Responses to the proliferation of new tobacco products and strategies to counter such disinformation campaign have been central to the discussion. The second roundtable focused on strategies to improve implementation of Article 5.3 guidelines in the country. Speakers addressed the scope and challenges of implementing the article, including additional measures needed to deal with the current changes in tobacco industry supply and practices.

For the award ceremonies, CNCT awarded local individuals and organizations in two categories: positive awards on Article 5.3 recognizing initiatives that addressed tobacco industry interference, and awards calling out the worst forms of interference tactics.

Article 5.3 Award for Independence was given to Minister of Economy and Finance who exhibited good practices by limiting interaction between the authorities and the tobacco industry. Article 5.3 Award for Political/Legal Initiative was awarded to Mr. Christophe Castaner for compliance of his parliamentary action with the application directives of the FCTC, and 5.3 Award for Information given to journalist Stephane Horel from Le Monde for his investigative articles on the influence of the tobacco industry.[iii]

The Butt of Interference award went to KPMG the consulting firm for being a tool for disinformation and promoting the interests of the tobacco industry. The Butt Outlaw was awarded to Japan Tobacco International for exploiting a commercial loophole to sell menthol tobacco products, despite their ban in the European Union since May 2020. The cigarette butt interference was awarded to Charles de Courson and Lise Magnier for their role in the amendments of measures in favor of Philip Morris against public health interests.

CNCT has effectively utilized the country Indexes and innovatively mainstreamed how to address challenges from tobacco industry interference through various advocacy activities. These efforts have paved the way for advancing robust tobacco control laws and regulations as well as creating awareness among stakeholders and the general public.

About CNCT: A pioneer in prevention campaigns and conducts activities in collaboration with national and international tobacco control advocates and works in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and the National Cancer Institute. We extend technical assistance to French and foreign health executives of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique.

[i] Comité National Contre Le Tabagisme. Les prix 5.3 – Sans tabac et sans lobby. Available from:
[ii] GGTC. Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index. Available from:
[iii] Comité National Contre Le Tabagisme. Les prix 5.3 – Sans tabac et sans lobby. Available from: