2013 was the big year for tobacco industry lobbying

September 1st, 2016
by Vicky Cann

New analysis by LobbyFacts, which compares the year by year lobby spending of the tobacco industry, reveals that 2013 was its top spending year. 2013 represents the height of the lobby battle over the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive and several key industry players, dramatically increased their lobby spending to reflect that.


Total tobacco industry EU lobby spending in 2013 was over €8.412.500 which was a 100 per cent plus increase from the previous year. One player in particular bumped up their spend in 2013. Philip Morris International declared spending €1million in 2012, but €5million in 2013. Sometimes we are suspicious when organisations post dramatic increases in spending, (at times these are mistakes), but in this case, Philip Morris International are known to have been conducting a huge lobbying operation directed at MEPs, Commission officials (and EU member states) to amend and / or delay the revised Tobacco Products Directive.

The drop in declared spending in 2014 (compared to 2013) is largely caused by Philip Morris International (65 per cent decrease). Since then spending has stabilised and in 2015 it was virtually the same as 2014, although two key lobbies (Swedish Match and Federazione Italiana Tabaccai) have yet to post 2015 figures.

Aside from the specific lobby battles being fought by the tobacco industry, other factors for changes in lobby spend could also include: changed registration rules, increased public pressure and media scrutiny to become more transparent. Below we list some of the lobby battles that the car industry has been involved in at the EU level year by year, alongside declared lobby spending for the year in question (as per 1 July for each year).



  • Ongoing impact assessment on draft revised Tobacco Products Directive

  • Annual industry lobby spend: €3,180,000 (10 lobby actors)



  • Health Commissioner forced to resign over ‘Dalligate’ scandal

  • Commission adopts draft revised Tobacco Products Directive

  • Annual industry lobby spend: €4,180,000 (12 lobby actors)



  • Council agrees common approach to revised Tobacco Products Directive

  • European Parliament debates revised Tobacco Products Directive

  • Trilogue compromise agreement between Commission, Council and Parliament on revised Tobacco Products Directive

  • Annual industry lobby spend: €8.412.500 (11 lobby actors)



  • Revised Tobacco Products Directive adopted

  • Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and others challenge the Tobacco Products Directive before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

  • Annual industry lobby spend: €5,208,333 (11 lobby actors)



  • European Commission announces that the EU should ratify the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP) and urges the Council to adopt this decision with the consent of the European Parliament

  • European Commission reviews its existing agreement with Philip Morris International to tackle the problem of illicit trade in tobacco products

  • Documents released following access to documents requests also showed tobacco companies lobbying to influence the EU's positions in international trade negotiations such as the TTIP talks

  • Annual industry lobby spend: €4,959,999 (10 lobby actors)


Full figures are available in this spreadsheet.

Update Notice

This article was updated on 1 September 2016 after the European Smoking Tobacco Association (ESTA) notified us that their declaration of 2013 EU lobby spending was a mistake and should have been €475,000 – €500,000 instead of €4,750,000 – €5,000,000. We have changed the figures in the infographics and the text of the article accordingly.

As a notice on the EU transparency register website says, "The information in the Register is provided by the registered organisations themselves, and they bear sole responsibility for it. [...] The registrations published on the website of the Transparency Register are in the public domain. Please note that registration versions from previous years that are no longer on the website may be subject to a request for public access to documents under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001."

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