As a party to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the United Kingdom has an obligation to protect the development of public health policy from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry.

Tobacco industry organisations who register to comment on draft guidance, advice and standards are automatically registered as respondents.

NICE position statement

The UK Government is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), originally published in 2003. As an Arm’s Length Body of Government, NICE has an obligation under Article 5.3 of the FCTC to protect public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

NICE takes its obligations under the FCTC seriously when developing its guidance and quality standards. This position statement sets out how NICE meets its obligations, with effect from August 1 2015.

In meeting the FCTC obligations, the Institute does not exclude tobacco companies from engaging with its guidance or quality standard development processes, but ensures that:

  • Tobacco companies are referred to as ‘respondents’ throughout the process, rather than stakeholders or consultees. This indicates their status as manufactures of tobacco products, the use of which the Institute is working to discourage, and ensures there is no implication that tobacco companies are partners in the NICE development process.
  • NICE staff and committee members who interact with tobacco manufacturers do so only as far as it is necessary to make tobacco companies aware of the guidance and quality standard development process and their opportunity to engage with it.
  • All communication, written or verbal, with tobacco manufacturers is recorded, and made available on the NICE website.
  • Any comments received during the consultation process on guidance or standards, where tobacco companies are acting as ‘respondents’, are made public, along with the NICE responses to these comments.
  • All organisations that engage with NICE’s processes for guidance and standard development are asked to declare any direct or indirect links with, or funding from the tobacco industry. These declarations are published on the NICE website.
  • All research used when developing tobacco-related guidance is clearly referenced. Any evidence sponsored or supplied by the tobacco industry is identified as such, is carefully evaluated and assessed in line with NICE published methodology, and used with caution.