“Fighting a Hurricane”: Tobacco Industry Efforts to Counter the Perceived Threat of Islam

Petticrew, Mark; Lee, Kelley; Ali, Haider and Nakkash, Rima (2015). “Fighting a Hurricane”: Tobacco Industry Efforts to Counter the Perceived Threat of Islam. American Journal of Public Health, 105(6) pp. 1086–1093.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302494

Abstract

Islamic countries are of key importance to transnational tobacco companies as growing markets with increasing smoking rates. We analyzed internal tobacco industry documents to assess the industry’s response to rising concerns about tobacco use within Islamic countries.

The tobacco industry perceived Islam as a significant threat to its expansion into these emerging markets. To counter these concerns, the industry framed antismoking views in Islamic countries as fundamentalist and fanatical and attempted to recruit Islamic consultants to portray smoking as acceptable. Tobacco industry lawyers also helped develop theological arguments in favor of smoking.

These findings are valuable to researchers and policymakers seeking to implement culturally appropriate measures in Islamic countries under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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