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FSFW Letter

Pledge against Funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

On September 13, 2017, it was announced that Philip Morris International has committed to contribute close to $1 billion to fund the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. 

Philip Morris International (PMI) and its Foundation are not a part of the solution to the massive social and economic harms caused by tobacco company products and their promotion. The world’s first public health treaty – the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – is clear: “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.” If Philip Morris truly wanted to establish a “smoke-free world” they would stop legal challenges to local and national tobacco control efforts and cease advertising and manufacturing cigarettes. Indeed, the company is largely responsible for creating the current-day tobacco epidemic it is now claiming to wish to alleviate. 

As leaders of universities and non-profit organizations invested in protecting the public’s health, we are announcing today that our institutions are not accepting sponsorship or funding from this Foundation.

Philip Morris has a long history of funding research designed to confuse the public. There is concern across the global public health community that the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World will enable PMI to enhance its image and boost its claims to be a legitimate stakeholder in discussions to address tobacco use, all while simultaneously continuing to profit from tobacco sales and undermine research and policy efforts proven to reduce tobacco use.  In many countries, PMI and its subsidiaries are also introducing flavored cigarettes that appeal to youth, conducting aggressive marketing near elementary schools, sponsoring race cars and concerts, and engaging in other youth-oriented marketing.

The world’s leading credible tobacco control and public health experts such as the World Health Organization, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the International Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control, American Cancer Society, World Heart Federation, and Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada have publicly denounced PMI’s foundation. 

Additionally, a growing number of deans from leading schools of public health around the world, led by Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have issued a joint statement pledging not to work with the PMI-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.  

Our institutions consider funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World to be equivalent to funding from the tobacco industry. As a result, we pledge to reject funding or sponsorship from the Foundation.


Alphabetical order by Institution 

Wah-Yun Low, PhD, MSc
Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health

Agustin Kumumayati , MD, PhD, MSc
Association of Public Health Higher Education Institutions

Faridul Alam, MD, PhD
Vice Chancellor
Bangladesh University of Health Sciences

Nguyen Hoang Yen    
Executive Director    
Center for Health Consultation and Community Development 

Don Tuan Phuong    
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies 
Nguyen Thi An, MD, MPH    
HealthBridge Vietnam

Tran Diep Tuan, MD, PhD    
Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University 

N Devadasan, PhD, MPH    
Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru 

Rebecca Ivers, PhD, MPH    
School of Population Health
University of New South Wales – Sydney 

Norman Maldonado, PhD    
PROESA - Centre for Studies in Social Protection and Health Economics
ICESI University

Jorge Luis Molina, MD    
Faculty of Medical Sciences 
University of Rosario

K Srinath Reddy, MD, MSc    
Public Health Foundation of India

Phudit Tejativaddhana MD, MPA 
ASEAN Institute for Health Development
Mahidol University
Nawzia Yasmin, MPH, MBBS    
School of Health Sciences
State University of Bangladesh