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Dr Gary Fooks - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Dr Gary Fooks Dr Gary Fooks

Reader, Sociology and Policy Co-director, Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC) | Aston University


Gary Fooks is a political sociologist with interests in the commercial determinants of health and corporate harm.



Gary Fooks is a political sociologist with interests in the commercial determinants of health and corporate harm.

Gary's research explores the interdependencies between global health policy, evidence-based policy-making, corporate political influence and social harm. His current work covers: the relationship between corporations, science, and policy-related evidence; business influence in shaping the underlying administrative architecture of policy-making; the intersections of corporate political influence, international trade and investment agreements and public policy; and the political uses of corporate social responsibility.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Global Health Policy

Role of Corporations in Shaping and Influencing Policy

European Union


Political Sociology

Education (2)

University of Southampton: PhD, Sociology of Law and Criminology 1998

University of Southampton: LLB, Law 1991

Media Appearances (3)

Why the UK has no clear party of business

The Conversation  online


The Conservative Party is the self-styled party of business. Or at least it was until Boris Johnson’s notorious “fuck business” response to concerns over Brexit. But there is also a longer history to these tensions.

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How business misrepresented evidence: the South African sugar tax story

The Conversation  online


In a recently published study on the political activities of the soft drinks industry in the lead up to South Africa introducing a sugar tax, we outlined the complex and systematic way in which big corporations and business associations misrepresented evidence to the country’s National Treasury.

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Is EU regulation really so bad for the UK?

The Conversation  online


Government estimates suggest that around half of all UK legislation with an impact on business, charities, and the voluntary sector originates from the EU. This is often used as an argument in favour of Brexit. But the overall costs and benefits of EU regulation are rarely scrutinised in depth.

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Articles (5)

Tobacco industry access to policy elites and the implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Tobacco Control

Marc C Willemsen, Gary Fooks


Article 5.3 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aims to prevent tobacco industry interference with public health policy. The degree of protection depends on several factors: the interpretation of Article 5.3 by governments; the presence of codes of practice; and the effectiveness of industry lobbying versus public health advocacy. We examine these factors with reference to the Dutch government’s interpretation of Article 5.3.

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Corporations’ use and misuse of evidence to influence health policy: a case study of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation

Globalization and Health

Gary Jonas Fooks, Simon Williams, Graham Box, Gary Sacks


Sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are a major source of sugar in the diet. Although trends in consumption vary across regions, in many countries, particularly LMICs, their consumption continues to increase. In response, a growing number of governments have introduced a tax on SSBs. SSB manufacturers have opposed such taxes, disputing the role that SSBs play in diet-related diseases and the effectiveness of SSB taxation, and alleging major economic impacts. Given the importance of evidence to effective regulation of products harmful to human health, we scrutinised industry submissions to the South African government’s consultation on a proposed SSB tax and examined their use of evidence.

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Can’t see the woods for the trees: exploring the range and connection of tobacco industry argumentation in the 2012 UK standardised packaging consultation

Tobacco Control

Jessamina Lih Yan Lie, Gary Fooks, Nanne K de Vries, Suzanne M Heijndijk, Marc C Willemsen


Transnational tobacco company (TTC) submissions to the 2012 UK standardised packaging consultation are studied to examine TTC argumentation in the context of Better Regulation practices.

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The Tolerable Cost of European Union Regulation: Leaving the EU and the Market for Politically Convenient Facts

Journal of Social Policy

Gary Fooks, Tom Mills


European Union (EU) law-making has played a key role in promoting social equity in the UK through safer working conditions, enhanced rights for workers, and by reducing environmental pollution. Concerns over its effect on business competitiveness have long been a major driver of Euroscepticism, underpinning criticism of the EU by influential opinion formers within British conservatism. The Leave Campaign argued that EU laws damage the UK economy by imposing unnecessary costs on British business, claiming that EU regulations cost the UK economy £33.3 billion per year. This paper examines the reliability of, and assumptions that underpin, aggregated estimates of the costs and benefits of EU-derived regulation, and considers how the economisation of public policy influences understanding of the social value of regulation. It brings together the findings of studies that have evaluated the accuracy of the estimated costs and benefits in formal impact assessments and analyses impact assessments of EU-derived policy instruments aimed at regulating working conditions. Our findings suggest that aggregated estimates represent poor guides to understanding the social costs and benefits of social regulation and highlight the value of discarding impact assessment estimates of costs and benefits in the context of efforts to shape social policy post-Brexit.

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Controlling corporate influence in health policy making? An assessment of the implementation of article 5.3 of the World Health Organization framework convention on tobacco control

Globalization and Health

Gary Jonas Fooks, Julia Smith, Kelley Lee & Chris Holden


The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) stands to significantly reduce tobacco-related mortality by accelerating the introduction of evidence-based tobacco control measures. However, the extent to which States Parties have implemented the Convention varies considerably. Article 5.3 of the FCTC, is intended to insulate policy-making from the tobacco industry’s political influence, and aims to address barriers to strong implementation of the Convention associated with tobacco industry political activity. This paper quantitatively assesses implementation of Article 5.3’s Guidelines for Implementation, evaluates the strength of Parties’ efforts to implement specific recommendations, and explores how different approaches to implementation expose the policy process to continuing industry influence.

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