Understanding and Researching Alcohol & Tobacco Industry Strategies to Influence Policy
Dr. Benjamin Hawkins is Associate Professor in Global Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Senior Research Fellow at the University of York. His current research focuses on the role of research evidence and corporate actors in health policy making, international trade agreements, multi-level governance and the judicialization of health policy at the supra-national level. Before entering academia, he worked in sales and marketing for a global alcohol producer.
This lecture will examine the role of Trans-National Corporations (TNCs) in the fields of tobacco and alcohol as political actors and the impact they have on global health policy. It will be argued that corporations are key actors in the policy process, who adopt specific political strategies to obtain their regulatory objectives. The lecture will highlight how these corporations operate as disease vectors, increasingly in LMIC markets, and examine contemporary policy approaches to address ‘industrial epidemics’. We will look at the different ways in which corporate actors influence governance and how their strategies have shifted over time. Finally, we will examine the similarities and differences between the tobacco and alcohol industries and question the rationale for the very different regulatory approaches taken towards them.