STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) is a newly-formed global tobacco industry watchdog that aims to expose how the tobacco industry undermines public health. While much effort is already underway in tobacco control, STOP is the first partnership of its kind, dedicated solely to monitoring how tobacco companies derail policy and to supporting those who can influence these policies–like governments, health advocates, and the media. STOP is global because the industry is global, but it focuses on industry efforts in low- and middle-income countries where the tobacco epidemic is greatest. So why should you follow STOP? Here are four key reasons:
1. So you know who you can trust…Tobacco companies are so untrustworthy that they need other organizations to carry their messages to policy makers and consumers. Some of these tobacco industry allies are easy to spot–such as tobacco trade associations or public relations firms working for tobacco companies. But many allies go undetected by the public, coming off as independent entities when they are actually in league with the tobacco industry. STOP investigators have verified over 90 of these organizations in almost 30 countries that secretly promote the industry’s agenda. Dozens more are still under investigation and will be released when confirmed. Our new searchable database exposes these relationships so that you don’t get tricked.
2. To distinguish between fact and fabrication…Tobacco companies use the same arguments around the world to derail tobacco control measures that are proven to promote public health, such as taxes and smoke-free laws. Tobacco companies’ arguments and those of their vocal allies often use information and statistics that are biased or lack rigorous evidence. STOP identifies and unpacks these common arguments, as well as quick truths you can use to counter them.
3. To access a growing library of resources compiled by experts around the world…STOP provides a one-stop shop of resources curated by partners that bring decades of experience from across sectors, fields and regions of the world. We are researchers, investigative journalists, epidemiologists, former civil servants, lawyers and advocates. Our interdisciplinary skillset strengthens our capabilities in industry monitoring, research policy, advocacy and strategic communication. The diversity in our background is reflected in the range of resources we share. From peer-reviewed research and investigative reporting to course materials and policy briefs, our library of resources is tailored to support decision-makers, advocates, and reporters.
4. To keep up to date on what the tobacco industry is doing …Our network of partners and supporters are keeping tabs on the latest tactics tobacco companies are using around the world to undermine policy. We provide real-time information on what, how and where the tobacco industry has focused on most recently.
STOP is a partnership between The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, The Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, The Union and Vital Strategies. Learn more at exposetobacco.org.