On Tuesday, ASPPH issued a statement on the establishment of a new “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,” funded exclusively by Philip Morris International (PMI) with a pledge of $80 million a year over the next dozen years. According to its website, the Foundation was “created to accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide.” PMI says it wants to replace cigarettes with nicotine-containing smoke-free products that it is developing and selling.
The Association said that, “We are all too aware of the decades-long effort by the tobacco industry to subvert reasonable tobacco control public policy by creating scientific uncertainty about tobacco’s ill effects.”
Concerning the PMI effort, ASPPH said, “It is hard to evaluate the Foundation’s promises, pledges, bylaws and best intentions separately from Philip Morris International’s well-documented history of manipulating research results to advance its marketing strategies. And, given the Foundation’s linkage to PMI, the research objectives of the Foundation will continue to be justifiably suspect until PMI takes immediate and meaningful steps to end its marketing of tobacco products and supports the adoption of proven tobacco control measures across the world. Moreover, for research supported by tobacco industry resources to be trusted, such resources need to be directed to an established and creditable entity whose research priorities and operations are completely independent of industry.”
ASPPH and its member institutions are in the forefront of the effort to control tobacco use and, eventually, to eliminate its harm.