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Objective: To examine the tobacco industry's strategy to avoid regulations on secondhand smoke exposure in Latin America.
Methods: Systematic search of tobacco industry documents available through the internet. All available materials, including confidential reports regarding research, lobbying, and internal memoranda exchanged between the tobacco industry representatives, tobacco industry lawyers, and key players in Latin America.
Results: In Latin America, Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, working through the law firm Covington & Burling, developed a network of well placed physicians and scientists through their "Latin Project" to generate scientific arguments minimising secondhand smoke as a health hazard, produce low estimates of exposure, and to lobby against smoke-free workplaces and public places. The tobacco industry's role was not disclosed.
Conclusions: The strategies used by the industry have been successful in hindering development of public health programmes on secondhand smoke. Latin American health professionals need to be aware of this industry involvement and must take steps to counter it to halt the tobacco epidemic in Latin America.