The aim of this study was to determine how tobacco control interest groups influence tobacco policy decision-making through submissions and presentations to parliamentary committees.
A qualitative content analysis was used to examine the presentations and submissions on tobacco-related legislation made to parliamentary committees between 1996 and 2004. The sample was identified from the public list of tobacco-related bills tabled in both the House of Commons and the Senate; the Government of Canada website and LEGISinfo were used to determine which committee reviewed the relevant bill. Committee clerks were asked to send submissions and presentations related to specific bills identified through LEGISinfo. Submissions and presentations were scanned and entered into QSR N6 software for coding. The coding instrument was adapted from previous studies employing qualitative content analysis. Montini and Bero's recommendations were used to evaluate the submissions and presentations.
Tobacco control interest groups did present scientific evidence to support tobacco control. However, they underused credible witnesses to present information at meetings. The topics presented by tobacco control interests groups were usually relevant to the bill being discussed.
Tobacco control interest groups employed some of the strategies suggested by Montini and Bero in their attempt to influence parliamentary committees through submissions and presentations. They did include scientific evidence in their submissions; however, they could improve their strategies in the area of using credible witnesses, such as scientists and medical experts. Incorporating Montini and Bero's recommendations into lobbying efforts may increase success in influencing committees.