Condemning industry attempts to subvert public policy for a tobacco-free world

14 October 2017:

The World Heart Federation, alongside its partners in the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health, condemns outright the launch of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,1 which is a vehicle for the tobacco industry.

Despite funding a foundation that claims its goal is “ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide”,1Philip Morris International (PMI) continues to invest billions of dollars in marketing cigarettes worldwide, focusing many of these efforts in low-income and middle-income countries to gain new customers.

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.2 PMI’s recent failed attempt to sue the Government of Uruguay3 for implementing anti-smoking legislation is just one recent example of these efforts to protect their markets and profits.

Tobacco is one of the leading causes of premature cardiovascular disease mortality, in some regions accounting for 25–30% of all cardiovascular deaths. According to current WHO projections, tobacco use could kill one billion people this century.4

Alongside our colleagues at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)5 and The Union,6 the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health condemns this newly formed foundation as an attempt by the tobacco industry to subvert public policy for a tobacco-free world. We urge all parties with an interest in public health to do the same and support all legitimate and honest efforts to protect people from the harms of tobacco and smoking.

The best way to tackle the smoking epidemic and achieve a smoke-free world is by implementing policies set out in the WHO FCTC—not by engaging with an industry whose disingenuousness shows it cannot be trusted with people’s health.

DW is the President of the World Heart Federation. J-LE is the CEO of the World Heart Federation. We declare no competing interests.

Source: The Lancet