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On 24 January 2019, the first day of the 144th session of the Executive Board, the Philip Morris-funded ‘Foundation for a Smoke-free World’ issued an open letter to the WHO Executive Board. WHF and its partners have issued the following statement in response to this attempt at tobacco industry interference in global health decision-making.
Distinguished chair, Members of the Executive Board,
Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this statement on behalf of WHF supported by the Framework Convention Alliance, Japanese Cardiovascular Association, World Federation of Public Health Associations, International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations, World Stroke Organization, World Hypertension League, International Society of Nephrology, American Heart Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, African Heart Network, NCD Alliance, Union for International Cancer Control, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Smoke Free Partnership, Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, Advocacy Center Life Ukraine, OxySuisse, and the Public Health Foundation of India.
We are deeply concerned by the open letter to the WHO EB issued on January 24, 2019, by the so-called ‘Foundation for a Smoke-free World’.
We would like to remind all delegates of something that they already know: the sad history of the tobacco companies’ cunning communication tactics and their funding of questionable research to delay effective measures to reduce deaths from smoking. It is because of this history that we would like to highlight SDG 3a, which states “strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.” Distinguished delegates, as Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, you made a binding legal commitment to protect your policy-making process from tobacco industry interference, via Article 5.3 of the Convention.
In support of the statement issued by the FCTC secretariat on the launch of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, WHF recommends that no government or organisation should accept money from, endorse, or enter into partnerships with the Philip Morris International (PMI) funded ‘Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’. The tragedy of the enduring global tobacco epidemic requires us to work hand in hand to implement what works – the implementation of the FCTC. The World Heart Federation pledges to continue to warn all the researchers we work with across the world not to accept money from, endorse or enter into partnerships or conduct research in any way related to this PMI-funded Foundation.
We are confident that none of us will be fooled by the toxic influence of tobacco industry lobbying and funding, no matter how they disguise themselves.