International trade law, plain packaging and tobacco industry political activity: the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Gary Fooks, Anna B. Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tobacco companies are increasingly turning to trade and investment agreements to challenge measures aimed at reducing tobacco use. This study examines their efforts to influence the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major trade and investment agreement which may eventually cover 40% of the world's population; focusing on how these efforts might enhance the industry's power to challenge the introduction of plain packaging. Specifically, the paper discusses the implications for public health regulation of Philip Morris International's interest in using the TPP to: shape the bureaucratic structures and decision-making processes of business regulation at the national level; introduce a higher standard of protection for trademarks than is currently provided under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; and expand the coverage of Investor-State Dispute Settlement which empowers corporations to litigate directly against governments where they are deemed to be in breach of investment agreements. The large number of countries involved in the TPP underlines its risk to the development of tobacco regulation globally.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1
Number of pages9
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Funding: National Cancer Institute at the US National Institutes of Health(RO1CA160695); British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; ESRC; MRC; and National Institute of Health Research.


  • commerce
  • government regulation
  • tobacco products
  • international cooperation
  • lobbying
  • patents
  • product labeling
  • product packaging
  • public health
  • smoking
  • smoking cessation
  • tobacco industry


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