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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.

About STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products)

STOP is a global tobacco industry watchdog whose mission is to expose tobacco industry strategies and tactics to undermine public health. STOP is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and comprised of a partnership between The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, The Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, The Union’s Department of Tobacco Control and Vital Strategies.

Please contact our STOP press office for more information or to speak to a STOP spokesperson.

Notes to editors:

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 

  1. Action on Smoking and Health Foundation, Thailand
  2. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH US), USA
  3. Advocacy Center “LIFE”, Ukraine
  4. Airspace Action on Smoking and Health, Canada
  5. Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Sri Lanka
  6. American Cancer Society, United States
  7. ASH Finland, Finland
  8. ASH Scotland, United Kingdom
  9. Association of European Cancer Leagues, Belgium
  10. Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Australia
  11. Australian Health Promotion Association, Australia
  12. Austrian Council on Smoking and Health, Austria
  13. Balajee Sewa Sansthan, India
  14. Beijing Tobacco Control Association, China
  15. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), United States
  16. Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), Cambodia
  17. Cancer Council Australia, Australia
  18. Cancer Council Victoria, Australia
  19. Cancer Research UK, United Kingdom
  20. Center for Research and Community Development Services, Vietnam
  21. Chitranshu Samaj Kalyan Parishad, India
  22. Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, United States
  23. Comité National Contre le Tabagisme, France
  24. Consumer Information Network, Kenya
  25. Corporate Accountability International, United States
  26. Department of Community Medicine & Family Medicine / All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India
  27. Development and Policies Research Center, Vietnam
  28. European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), Belgium
  29. European Public Health Association, The Netherlands
  30. Economics of Tobacco Control Project – University of Cape Town, South Africa
  31. FAECAP Federation of Family and Community Nursing Associations, Spain
  32. Faith Foundation, India
  33. FCTC Implementation and Monitoring Center in Georgia, Georgia
  34. Forumul National de Preventie, Romania
  35. Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), Canada
  36. Fresh-Smoke Free North East, United Kingdom
  37. Fondation Cancer, Luxembourg
  38. Fundacja “Smart Health – Zdrowie w 3D”, Poland
  39. GAT SEMFYC ( Family Doctors), Spain
  40. Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), Thailand
  41. Grambangla Unnayan Committee (GUC), Bangladesh
  42. Gramin Vikas Sewa Samiti, India
  43. HealthBridge Foundation of Canada Vietnam Office, Vietnam
  44. HealthJustice Philippines, Philippines
  45. HRIDAY, India
  46. Indonesian Public Health Association (IAKMI), Indonesia
  47. Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, United States
  48. Institute for Youth Participation, Sustainable Development (IMZTR), Slovenia
  49. Inter-American Heart Foundation, Brazil
  50. Israel Cancer Association, Israel
  51. Israeli Medical Association for Smoking Cessation and Prevention, Israel
  52. Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, Jamaica
  53. Japan Society for Tobacco Control, Japan
  54. Legal Engagement Advocating Development and Reform (LEADER, Inc.), Philippines
  55. Lentera Anak Foundation, Indonesia
  56. Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition, Lithuania
  57. Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control, Malaysia
  58. Malaysian Green Lung Association, Malaysia
  59. Malaysian Medical Association, Malaysia
  60. Malaysian Public Health Physician Association, Malaysia
  61. MANT (Manbhum Ananda Ashram Nityananda Trust), India
  62. Marathwada Gramin Vikas Sanstha, India
  63. MyWatch, Malaysia
  64. National Committee on Tobacco Control, Indonesia
  65. National Coalition “For smoke-free Kazakstan”, Republic of Kazakstan
  66. New Vois Association of the Philippines, Inc. (NVAP), Philippines
  67. NCD Alliance, Switzerland
  68. org (, Spain
  69. Norwegian Cancer Society, Norway
  70. OxySuisse, Switzerland
  71. Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil
  72. Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Studiesin Rural Development, India
  73. People Health Foundation, Myanmar
  74. Philippine Pediatric Society, Inc., Philippines
  75. Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Canada
  76. PRASAR, India
  77. Pra tyasha Anti-Drugs Club, Bangladesh
  78. PROGGA, Bangladesh
  79. Public Health Association of Australia, Australia
  80. SGSS, India
  81. Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control, Slovenia
  82. Smoke Free Israel, Israel
  83. Smoke Free Life Coalition, Bulgaria
  84. Smoke Free Partnership, Belgium
  85. Sociedad Uruguaya de Tabacología, Uruguay
  86. Società Italiana di Tabaccologia (SITAB), Italy
  87. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Philippines
  88. Subhash Children Society, India
  89. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia, Malaysia
  90. Swarna Hansa Foundation, Sri Lanka
  91. Swiss Association for Smoking Prevention, Switzerland
  92. Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Tanzania
  93. The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Jamaica
  94. ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, China
  95. The Union, United States
  96. Tobacco-Free Advocacy Japan (TFAJ), Japan
  97. Tobacco – Free Association of Zambia, Zambia
  98. Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center (TRC), Thailand
  99. Tobacco Control Research Group and Tobacco Tactics, University of Bath, United Kingdom
  100. UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), Bangladesh
  101. Vietnam Non-communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Alliance, Vietnam
  102. Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Ghana
  103. Vital Strategies, United States
  104. Womanhealth Philippines Inc., Philippines
  105. World Federation of Public Health Associations, Australia
  106. World Heart Federation, Switzerland
  107. XQNS Initiative, Spain
  108. 1Youth Network No Excuse Slovenia, Slovenia
  109. 100% BFOM, Philippines