America Anti-smoking Industry’s Strange Alliance

In the 1960’s, American public health groups started actively campaigning to discourage cigarette’s marketing and sales and by the 1980s, they turned their attention to the harmful health effects of cigarette’s consumption. Despite their efforts, they seemed powerless compared to the mighty ‘Philip Morises’. Between 1986 and 1988, these public health groups got a window of opportunity, while the American tobacco industry was desperately trying to gain access to the Asian cigarette market, and the US and Thailand were struggling. Indeed, it was a period of great tension began between the US and Thailand in the GATT, as Thailand refused to abolish its 1966 Tobacco Act that prohibited cigarette imports without license. Anti-smoking forces created a strange alliance with the Thai local tobacco monopoly, claiming the US should be discouraging cigarettes’ worldwide use. This strategy allowed them to gain an international reputation and to spread the word about the harmful effects of tobacco.

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