TobaccoUnmasked Celebrates its 4th Anniversary

TobaccoUnmasked (TU); the official information portal of the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT) based on a media wiki platform, celebrates its 4th anniversary today. It contains evidence based information on the tobacco industry activities and interferences. TU was ceremonially launched by Professor Lakshman Dissanayaka, then Vice-Chancellor of University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 7th July 2017 at Colombo.

During our 4 years of journey, we have published posts relevant to effective control of tobacco in Sri Lanka, specifically focusing on the implementation of Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). FCTC is the global treaty on controlling tobacco to which Sri Lanka was a party for almost two decades. Article 5.3 of the FCTC recommends countries to protect their tobacco control policies and actions from the interference of the tobacco industry by avoiding conflicts of interests and limiting interactions with the industry, maintaining transparency and accountability in interactions with the industry, prohibiting image promotions covered up as corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and not being favourable towards the tobacco industry in any policy or activity.

Based on the above, it features profiles of politicians, government officials, academics and researchers engaged with tobacco industry activities leading to conflicts of interests, direct and indirect interference on tobacco control policies and actions and CSR activities promoting the image of the tobacco industry. The latest report was on the incident related to a state-owned bank supporting a cigarette distributor to stockpile cigarettes to evade tax. Since March 2020, we have been monitoring and publishing tobacco industry interference reported during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka and globally.

Currently, TU website has reached an approximate user base of 50,000, geographically distributed in 132 countries. Sri Lankan users top the list with an average of 1500 users visiting TobaccoUnmasked website per month.

We hope to extend our monitoring towards protecting tobacco control policies and actions from the tobacco industry influence and interference, and promise to deliver to the standards of your expectations.