Big Tobacco Gets Sneaky
This week last year the machinations of Big Tobacco sparked a scandal in Brussels. John Dalli was removed from his post as the European Commission’s health chief over allegations – which he denies – that he solicited bribes from a Swedish manufacturer of chewable tobacco. With reports of espionage and burglary, the whole affair spiced up the often turgid world of EU politics for a while.
According to spin-doctors, Dalli was sacked because the Commission wanted to show the peddlers of addiction that they couldn’t write the law. Yet the EU’s governments and institutions proved just how malleable they were later in 2012, when they binned a proposal to ban outright the branding of cigarettes and require that they all be sold in plain packets.