A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Foundation for a Smoke Free World

A message from World Stroke Organisation President, Prof. Werner Hacke

As you may have read, last week a new initiative was launched named the Foundation for a Smoke Free World. This foundation – whose leadership includes former WHO official Dr Derek Yach – is a tobacco-industry-funded initiative, set to receive $80 million of annual funding over the next 12 years from tobacco business Philip Morris International (PMI).

Alongside our colleagues at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the World Heart Federation,  the World Stroke Organization condemns this initiative in the strongest possible terms as an attempt by the tobacco industry to interfere in, and subvert, public policy.

Despite funding a foundation that claims its goal is to ‘eliminate smoking’, PMI continues to invest billions of dollars in marketing cigarettes worldwide, focusing many of these efforts in low- and middle-income countries where stroke, alongside other diseases related to tobacco use pose a growing individual and health system burden. 

Throughout previous decades, the tobacco industry – including PMI – has sought to maintain its profits by sowing misinformation among the public and blocking policies designed to protect public health. PMI’s recent failed attempt to sue the government of Uruguay for implementing anti-smoking legislation is just one recent example of these efforts.

Tobacco use is associated with around 1 in every 10 strokes and according to current WHO projections, tobacco use will kill a total of one billion people this century.  As the leading global organization that brings together the stroke community to create a world free from stroke, the World Stroke Organization is committed to support all legitimate efforts to achieve a smoke-free world.

The best path to tackle this epidemic and achieve a smoke-free world is by implementing policies set out in the WHO FCTC – not by engaging with an industry that has shown repeatedly that it cannot be trusted to defend, let alone promote, public health.

We ask you to share information on this foundation with your colleagues and networks, so that the stroke community can be on guard against these attempts to undermine progress we are all working hard to achieve.
A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Foundation for a Smoke Free World Reviewed by Anita Wiseman on Saturday, September 23, 2017 Rating: 5

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