Industry Influences on Tobacco Control in Sri Lanka: 1990’s
This post is based on two Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) documents archived in the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library;
- Document No.1 – Sri Lanka Company Plan (for 1995-1997)
- Document No.2 – Ceylon Tobacco Company limited code of conduct for marketing activities in Sri Lanka
The strategies mentioned were;
- Company Representatives as Observers in Tobacco Control Committees
- Interactions with Policy Makers
- A Self-Imposed Code of Conduct
- Influencing Illicit Tobacco Raids
- Negotiating Tax Structures with the Treasury
Details used are mentioned below with images showing excerpts from the original document.
Company Representatives as Observers in Tobacco Control Committees
In the Document 1 (Image 1), it is explained that being an ‘observer’ in the National Committee on Tobacco & Health gives them early warnings about ‘proposed restrictions’ and enables the CTC to forward their views to key decision makers.
Interactions with Policy Makers
Was seen in three levels;
- Individual level interactions
- Institutional level interactions
- Mass communications/campaigns
Individual Level Interactions
Document 1 (Image 1) and Document 2 (Image 2) both highlight use of interactions with ‘key’ individuals in influencing control actions. Three types of such ‘key’ individuals mentioned are;
- Decision makers – “…enable us to put forward the Company’s position to key decision makers...”(Image 1)
- Health Ministry officials – “Contact with the key officials of the Ministry of Health will be continued.” (Image 1)
- President of Sri Lanka – “On hearing this we faxed H.E. and the draft bill was not placed on the order paper of Parliament.” (Image 2)
Institutional Level Interactions
According to the Document No.1, CTC interacted with the Ministry of Finance to influence tobacco control actions as mentioned below;
- Negotiating Tax Structures with the Treasury - National Treasury, or the Ministry of Finance is the government institution responsible for developing and executing finance policies.. According to the Document No.1 (Image 3), the Excise structure proposal supposed to be implemented in 1995 was developed by the CTC “in consultation with the Treasury”.
- Liaising with Authorities to Control Illicit Tobacco - Controlling illicit tobacco is the responsibility of the Department of Excise, functioning under the Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka. Further, it is also responsible for executing the Tobacco Tax Act of 1999 and the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act According to Document No.1, CTC liaised with authorities to regulate illicit tobacco in ways beneficial to the company (Image 4)
Document No.1 describes a “corporate communication campaign” and a “corporate image survey” among “opinion leaders and other interest groups”. The “key interest groups” listed included government.
A Self-Imposed Code of Conduct
Document No.2 (Image 5) explains how the CTC prepared Code of Conduct made them appear ‘sincere’ and got them a discussion with the Presidential Task Force (on Tobacco Control).
Tobacco Unmasked Resources
Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:
- Unknown. Sri Lanka Company Plan British American Tobacco Records, 23 September 1994, accessed May 2017
- V Malalasekara. Ceylon Tobacco Company limited code of conduct for marketing activities in Sri Lanka, British American Tobacco Records, 05 April 2000, accessed May 2017
- Ministry of Finance Website, undated, accessed May 2017
- Department of Excise Website, undated, accessed May 2017