WHO sceptical of Philip Morris' smoke-free efforts

  • 29/09/2017
Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is headed by Derek Yach, who used to work at the WHO. Photo credit: Getty

The World Health Organisation has advised governments to reject a plan by tobacco firm Philip Morris International to set up a Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

"The tobacco industry and its front groups have misled the public about the risks associated with other tobacco products," the UN health agency said in a statement on Thursday.

"Such misleading conduct continues today with companies, including PMI, marketing tobacco products in ways that misleadingly suggest that some tobacco products are less harmful than others," it said.

"WHO will not partner with the Foundation. Governments should not partner with the Foundation and the public health community should follow this lead."

Philip Morris set up the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World partly to promote vaping, in an attempt to stem its losses as more people quit smoking traditional tobacco products.

"At the very least, this is clearly an attempt to lock in e-cigarettes and other 'reduced harm' products as the solution to the public health epidemic that PMI continues to drive and profit from," Cloe Franko from Corporate Accountability International told the Guardian earlier this month.

"Simply put, if Exxon Mobil launched a foundation to combat climate change, would anyone take it seriously?"

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is headed by Derek Yach, who used to work at the WHO.

"I have been working with PMI to establish a foundation to accelerate the end of smoking and tackle the consequences for tobacco farmers," he told the Guardian.

"From the start, the intent has been to create an independent foundation that meets the very highest standards of legal and ethical norms and that addresses scientific verification in innovative and needed ways."

Reuters / Newshub.