STOP Congratulates WHO For Rejecting Approach From The Philip Morris International-Funded Foundation For A Smoke-Free World

(Geneva, Switzerland): Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a global tobacco industry watchdog, welcomes news that World Health Organization’s Executive Board (WHO EB) reaffirmed its position that it will not work with the Philip Morris International (PMI)-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). STOP supports WHO’s call that governments and researchers should also reject overtures from FSFW.

Responding to statements from several countries and civil society organizations at the WHO EB session, Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus further reiterated WHO’s commitment to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s first global health treaty, and the provisions that oblige countries to protect tobacco control policies from tobacco companies and invested third parties.

“We applaud WHO and the countries such as Australia, Netherlands, Panama and Singapore, for standing firm on the evidence-based principle to not collaborate with FSFW, an organization entirely funded by PMI,” said Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath and research lead for STOP. “We urge researchers and governments currently being approached by FSFW to also recognize that FSFW has no place, either in public health science or at the policy table.”

Prior to WHO’s decision, more than 279 organizations and individuals in 50 countries signed an open letter put forward by STOP, urging WHO to reject a publicly advertised approach from the PMI-funded FSFW. In line with this letter, STOP prepared a statement that was delivered by representatives from the World Heart Federation, on behalf of STOP and other public health groups, at the WHO EB meeting in Geneva. The statement reflected broader concern about tobacco industry interference expressed by other member states and others at this session.

 

Text of the letter sent to the WHO EB, including list of signatory organizations:

28th January 2019

To the Director General and Executive Board of the World Health Organization,

We write to you, as members of the global public health community, to express our grave concern at the attempt by the Philip Morris International-funded entity, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), to pave the road for partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Giving any consideration to an organization that is entirely funded by the tobacco industry would fundamentally undermine the significant health and policy gains made to date on the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It would specifically undermine WHO FCTC Article 5.3 which seeks to protect public health policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry and on which much of the success of the treaty rests.

We therefore call on you to reject this approach, in the strongest terms, and reinforce WHO’s 2017 notice to governments and the public health community to reject any affiliation with FSFW because of the “number of clear conflicts of interest involved with a tobacco company funding a purported health foundation, particularly if it promotes sale of tobacco and other products found in that company’s brand portfolio.”

Analysis of leaked PMI corporate affairs documents suggests that the establishment of the FSFW is consistent with the company’s corporate strategy.

The concern is that FSFW effectively operationalizes PMI’s corporate affairs strategy to further PMI’s business interests which include the promotion of its heated tobacco products, a market which PMI seeks to dominate. While PMI and its grantee claim a commitment to reducing harm; reports show that PMIs cigarettes continue to be heavily marketed in ways that attract children and undermine public health policy.

We are secure in the knowledge that the WHO does not engage with the tobacco industry or its proxies. We trust that you will respond to the PMI-funded FSFW in a manner consistent with the institution’s long-standing principles to protect its credibility and integrity bearing in mind that legitimizing FSFW through engagement would simply advance PMI’s agenda to the detriment of global health.

In the spirit of promoting partnerships to attain the SDGs, we hope that you will take this opportunity to establish WHO’s leadership in implementing the Model policy for agencies of the United Nations system on preventing tobacco industry interference.

The health of millions of people requires no less.

Signatory Organizations

Action on Smoking and Health Foundation, Thailand
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH US), USA
Advocacy Center “LIFE”, Ukraine
Airspace Action on Smoking and Health, Canada
Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Sri Lanka
American Cancer Society, United States
ASH Finland, Finland
ASH Scotland, United Kingdom
Association of European Cancer Leagues, Belgium
Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Australia
Australian Health Promotion Association, Australia
Austrian Council on Smoking and Health, Austria
Balajee Sewa Sansthan, India
Beijing Tobacco Control Association, China
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), United States
Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), Cambodia
Cancer Council Australia, Australia
Cancer Council Victoria, Australia
Cancer Research UK, United Kingdom
Center for Research and Community Development Services, Vietnam
Chitranshu Samaj Kalyan Parishad, India
Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, United States
Comité National Contre le Tabagisme, France
Consumer Information Network, Kenya
Corporate Accountability International, United States
Department of Community Medicine & Family Medicine / All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India
Development and Policies Research Center, Vietnam
European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), Belgium
European Public Health Association, The Netherlands
Economics of Tobacco Control Project – University of Cape Town, South Africa
FAECAP Federation of Family and Community Nursing Associations, Spain
Faith Foundation, India
FCTC Implementation and Monitoring Center in Georgia, Georgia
Forumul National de Preventie, Romania
Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), Canada
Fresh-Smoke Free North East, United Kingdom
Fondation Cancer, Luxembourg
Fundacja “Smart Health – Zdrowie w 3D”, Poland
GAT SEMFYC ( Family Doctors), Spain
Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), Thailand
Grambangla Unnayan Committee (GUC), Bangladesh
Gramin Vikas Sewa Samiti, India
HealthBridge Foundation of Canada Vietnam Office, Vietnam
HealthJustice Philippines, Philippines
HRIDAY, India
Indonesian Public Health Association (IAKMI), Indonesia
Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States
Institute for Youth Participation, Sustainable Development (IMZTR), Slovenia
Inter-American Heart Foundation, Brazil
Israel Cancer Association, Israel
Israeli Medical Association for Smoking Cessation and Prevention, Israel
Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, Jamaica
Japan Society for Tobacco Control, Japan
Legal Engagement Advocating Development and Reform (LEADER, Inc.), Philippines
Lentera Anak Foundation, Indonesia
Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition, Lithuania
Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, Malaysia
Malaysian Green Lung Association, Malaysia
Malaysian Medical Association, Malaysia
Malaysian Public Health Physician Association, Malaysia
MANT (Manbhum Ananda Ashram Nityananda Trust), India
Marathwada Gramin Vikas Sanstha, India
MyWatch, Malaysia
National Committee on Tobacco Control, Indonesia
National Coalition “For smoke-free Kazakstan”, Republic of Kazakstan
New Vois Association of the Philippines, Inc. (NVAP), Philippines
NCD Alliance, Switzerland
org (non-smokers.org), Spain
Norwegian Cancer Society, Norway
OxySuisse, Switzerland
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil
Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Studiesin Rural Development, India
People Health Foundation, Myanmar
Philippine Pediatric Society, Inc., Philippines
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Canada
PRASAR, India
Pra tyasha Anti-Drugs Club, Bangladesh
PROGGA, Bangladesh
Public Health Association of Australia, Australia
SGSS, India
Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control, Slovenia
Smoke Free Israel, Israel
Smoke Free Life Coalition, Bulgaria
Smoke Free Partnership, Belgium
Sociedad Uruguaya de Tabacología, Uruguay
Società Italiana di Tabaccologia (SITAB), Italy
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Philippines
Subhash Children Society, India
Sustainable Development Network Malaysia, Malaysia
Swarna Hansa Foundation, Sri Lanka
Swiss Association for Smoking Prevention, Switzerland
Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Tanzania
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Jamaica
ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, China
The Union, United States
Tobacco-Free Advocacy Japan (TFAJ), Japan
Tobacco – Free Association of Zambia, Zambia
Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center (TRC), Thailand
Tobacco Control Research Group and Tobacco Tactics, University of Bath, United Kingdom
UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), Bangladesh
Vietnam Non-communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Alliance, Vietnam
Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Ghana
Vital Strategies, United States
Womanhealth Philippines Inc., Philippines
World Federation of Public Health Associations, Australia
World Heart Federation, Switzerland
XQNS Initiative, Spain
1Youth Network No Excuse Slovenia, Slovenia
100% BFOM, Philippines

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