Tobacco companies cut their harm reduction subsidies

Philip Morris is reducing its contribution to the A Smoke Free World Foundation. This is revealed by the Swiss blog magazine Vapolitics. Since September, 15 employees have left the foundation, which works to reduce smoking in the world.

The Foundation for a smoke free world was formed three years ago by Derek Yach, a former WHO tobacco prevention worker and one of the key figures behind the the World Health Organisation's Tobacco Convention. The aim of the Foundation is to reduce cigarette smoking worldwide by developing alternative nicotine products and smoking cessation programmes.

Important contribution from tobacco companies

The foundation was made financially possible by an agreement with Philip Morris. PMI undertook to contribute SEK 80 million annually for 12 years to the organisation. The large contribution opened the door to criticism from many quarters. But the agreement also guarantees the foundation's independence from the tobacco company's influence in terms of projects, research and choice of strategy. 

But in September it became clear that PMI only half budgeted of the envisaged contribution for 2021. And according to the Source: Vapolitiquea former employee of the Foundation, 15 people have disappeared from the FFSW staff list. 

Harm reduction in developing countries

Founder of the Foundation Derek Yach confirms in part that Philip Morris has reduced its contribution, at least temporarily, due to Covid-19. However, he believes that the foundation still has great potential to support harm reduction projects. This is important in developing countries, where research on reducing the harmful effects of smoking in the field is hard to find funding.

"Neither the big giants like Bloomberg nor local government health authorities are interested in tobacco harm reduction or smoking cessation. Researchers in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, or for that matter South Africa, don't get funding for projects aimed at this. That's the Foundation's niche, and we are still the largest funder of these researchers in developing countries," says Mr Bloomberg. Derek Yach to the news channel Regulator Watch.

He emphasises that the organisation remains well placed to continue its work.

Monitoring the transition of companies

Foundation for a smoke free world was founded in 2017 and regularly publishes studies and facts on tobacco harm reduction. Earlier this year, the Foundation launched Tobacco Transformation Index - a regular measurement of how different tobacco companies are investing, or not investing, in harm reduction products.

"Despite commitments and promises to focus on less harmful products, traditional cigarettes still account for 95 per cent of sales among the fifteen largest companies" says Derek Yach


Vapolitics: Is Philip Morris cutting off funding for the Smoke-free World Foundation?

What's going on? What is happening with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World 's staff?

RegWatch: LIP SERVICE? | Pace of Cigarette Phase-Out Is Negligible

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