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Tob Control. 2004 Dec;13 Suppl 2:ii71-8.

The Philippine tobacco industry: "the strongest tobacco lobby in Asia".

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School of Public Health, Room 320B Edward Ford Building, A27, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia.



To highlight revelations from internal tobacco industry documents about the conduct of the industry in the Philippines since the 1960s. Areas explored include political corruption, health, employment of consultants, resisting pack labelling, and marketing and advertising.


Systematic keyword Minnesota depository website searches of tobacco industry internal documents made available through the Master Settlement Agreement.


The Philippines has long suffered a reputation for political corruption where collusion between state and business was based on the exchange of political donations for favourable economic policies. The tobacco industry was able to limit the effectiveness of proposed anti-tobacco legislation. A prominent scientist publicly repudiated links between active and passive smoking and disease. The placement of health warning labels was negotiated to benefit the industry, and the commercial environment allowed it to capitalise on their marketing freedoms to the fullest potential. Women, children, youth, and the poor have been targeted.


The politically laissez faire Philippines presented tobacco companies with an environment ripe for exploitation. The Philippines has seen some of the world's most extreme and controversial forms of tobacco promotion flourish. Against international standards of progress, the Philippines is among the world's slowest nations to take tobacco control seriously.

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