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The Lancet Features Editorial, Opinion Pieces On Foundation For A Smoke-Free World

The Lancet: Tobacco control: a Foundation too far?
Editorial Board

“…[T]obacco has zero health benefits — only harms. By the creation of the Foundation [for a Smoke-Free World, which is funded by the tobacco industry’s Philip Morris International (PMI)], the risk of setting back the tobacco control cause is very real. It might even be the biggest mistake in the history of the tobacco control movement. Nevertheless, history tells us that sometimes extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary actions. Simply boycotting the Foundation, as WHO suggests, is a mistake. As unpalatable as it may seem to engage with the tobacco industry, the public health community should be open to dialogue and debate with all parties, including holding [Derek Yach, founder and president-designate of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,] and the Foundation accountable for their promises and commitments. Only then, will we beat the tobacco scourge and help to prevent the projected one billion deaths attributable to smoking this century…” (10/14).

The Lancet: Towards a smoke-free world? Philip Morris International’s new Foundation is not credible
Mike Daube, professor at Curtin University; Rob Moodie, professor at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne; and Martin McKee, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…PMI, like other tobacco companies, may well want to sell a range of products, but anybody who believes that they really do want to see a smoke-free world is, we argue, living in a fantasy world. … Tobacco companies will continue to lie and deceive. … PMI will continue to promote its core product and to oppose [WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)] implementation and measures such as tax increases, advertising bans, and plain cigarette packaging. Meanwhile, governments should continue to pursue evidence-based measures that have been shown to reduce smoking. They must exclude tobacco companies from any policy involvement. Health organizations should continue to press for action and expose the aims and activities of the tobacco industry. Scientists should reject the siren songs of involvement in tobacco industry promotions. And the public should be aware that Big Tobacco remains as it was, the main cause of premature death and disability from the world’s most preventable pandemic” (10/14).

The Lancet: Foundation for a smoke-free world
Derek Yach, founder and president-designate of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

“…It takes decades before the full impact of smoking on death and disease becomes apparent. Supporting smokers in quitting or switching to reduced risk products is the most effective way to rapidly reduce the death rate in the next 20-30 years. … [T]his is the time to raise our ambition for what is possible and desirable in tobacco control, and specifically in harm reduction from smoking … The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World supports and endorses implementation of all elements of the FCTC, and aims to complement and add to the efforts led by WHO and supported by global philanthropies. The mission of the Foundation is to accelerate global efforts to reduce deaths and harm from smoking. Our ultimate vision is to eliminate cigarette smoking worldwide, and to mobilize support for people who are disproportionately burdened by the rapid transition away from smoking, starting with smallholder tobacco farmers in low-income and middle-income countries. … The Foundation will start this journey by seeking the best ideas about how to ensure that its work will be truly independent, and that its proposed actions have the greatest chance of accelerating public health benefits…” (10/14).

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