While in Delhi for a recent UN convention on tobacco control, anthropologist Andrew Russell reports on widespread ‘astroturfing’ – large multinationals subsidising apparently independent interest groups to secretly (or not so secretly) push corporate interests. Interference, intimidation, emotional blackmail and collusion are just some of the tactics employed by the tobacco industry to influence the delegates who had gathered to discuss tobacco control measures in a city blanketed in smog.
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Andrew is a medical anthropologist at Durham University. His research focuses on tobacco, its use and control.