The Index is a tool to accelerate the necessary transformation of the global tobacco industry and the reduction of harm caused by tobacco use.
Specifically, the Index monitors tobacco companies’ activities concerning:
Phasing out high-risk tobacco products.
We’ve known for decades, and the industry itself now admits, that traditional tobacco products – especially cigarettes and other combustible products – are deadly. They should be phased out as rapidly as possible.
Developing and responsibly offering reduced-risk alternatives to support current users in moving away from high-risk products.
Companies can support tobacco harm reduction by innovating and transitioning their product lines toward lower-risk alternatives, which may help current users to improve their health outcomes and ultimately quit altogether.
Preventing access and marketing of such alternatives to all non-smokers and nonusers of high-risk products.
Companies should take measures to prevent unintended consequences of tobacco harm reduction, including new uptake, especially by youth or other vulnerable populations.
Ensuring consistency of harm-reduction activities across all markets, within regulatory guidelines.
Companies should pursue transformation across their businesses, not just in selected geographies or customer demographics. In particular, they should support appropriate means of tobacco harm reduction in low- and middle-income countries and responsibly address the needs of all customer segments, in accordance with applicable policies, regulations, and cultural considerations.
By monitoring and critically evaluating tobacco companies’ behavior, including actions that either support or impede tobacco harm reduction, the Index provides objective, transparent information to all stakeholders and incentivizes companies to act more quickly and responsibly than they otherwise would.
The Index draws on the example set by similar tools, such as the Access to Medicine Index for the pharmaceutical industry, the Access to Nutrition Index for the food and beverage industry, and other initiatives.
As these examples have demonstrated, encouraging greater transparency and measuring companies’ performance can bring added attention and focus to critical issues and challenges. Investors are armed with additional information for making investment decisions and engaging with companies. Other stakeholders – such as academics, NGOs, policy makers, regulators, and customers – are provided with further information to inform their own work and decisions. And companies themselves are influenced to accelerate action, whether by index results, pressure from stakeholders, and/or competition with their peers.
Over time, an index can also serve as a platform for parties to influence and debate one another about what path the target industry should take. Through stakeholder dialogues, public commentary in response to an index’s findings, and other means, the focus and impact of an index can be evolved and improved with each iteration.
The Tobacco Transformation Index is predicated on the forces of competition, differentiation, and constructive engagement.
The Index aims to stimulate competition among companies to deliver the necessary transformation of the tobacco industry for the benefit of public health. Lives can be saved by influencing even the poorest companies toward transformation and by demonstrating to them how other players are able to operate.
The Index creates value by highlighting differences across companies within the industry based on their actions. As a result, all stakeholders – investors, policymakers, public health advocates, and others – can become better informed and able to drive change.
Further isolating companies leaves them to their own devices, which may only perpetuate the status quo. Conversely, through constructive engagement, investors and other stakeholders can more clearly articulate their expectations and influence companies to change.
Accelerate the reduction of harm caused by tobacco use.
Monitor and critically evaluate
companies’ actions that either support
or impede tobacco harm reduction.
Stimulate competition among
companies to deliver the necessary
transformation of the tobacco industry
for the benefit of public health.
Provide all stakeholders with
information and insight to influence
and hold companies accountable.
Companies phase out
combustible and other high-risk
Companies responsibly develop
and offer reduced-risk alternatives
to existing users.
Companies prevent access and marketing
of alternatives to non-users of high-risk products.
Companies ensure consistency
of harm reduction activities across
Index credibility is built upon multiple factors, including objective evaluation of company performance, process transparency, broad consultation, and effective management and governance.
The Index objectively evaluates tobacco companies’ levels of commitment, transparency, and performance as they relate to tobacco harm reduction. While all three attributes are important and mutually reinforce one another, the Index places its greatest weight and emphasis on measures of performance, as they provide the truest indication of impact and actual reduction in tobacco-related harm.
Transparency and Disclosure
The Index was developed through an open, transparent process. In particular, details of the methodology are fully transparent, allowing stakeholders to sufficiently understand how the rankings are constructed. Other details, including the content and results of all consultation, are disclosed via the Index website.
In developing the Index, the team engaged with a wide range of experts across several disciplines, including investors, academics, tobacco control experts, and health advocates. The purpose of the dialogue was to explore and strengthen the Index’s theory of change, to identify and prioritize the specific topics the Index should address, and to strengthen measures to ensure it is objective, credible, and effective.
Management and Governance
The Index’s management and governance structure clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved, including the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, the lead project consultants, and the independent Index Advisory Board.