Philip Morris-funded smoking foundation a blatant COI

The World Health Organization has urged governments to not to get involved in a foundation funded by tobacco firm Philip Morris International to look at ways of reducing the harm from smoking.

The tobacco giant said it planned to give the “independent” Foundation for a Smoke-Free World around $80 million a year for 12 years.

But the WHO hit back at the plans, stating that if Philip Morris International (PMI) were truly committed to a smoke free world it would get behind evidence based policies to combat smoking such as tobacco taxes, graphic warning labels, comprehensive bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

“Instead, PMI opposes them. PMI engages in large scale lobbying and prolonged and expensive litigation against evidence-based tobacco control policies,” the U.N health body said in a statement.

“Research and advocacy funded by tobacco companies and their front groups cannot be accepted at face value. When it comes to the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, there are a number of clear conflicts of interest involved with a tobacco company funding a purported health foundation, particularly if it promotes sale of tobacco and other products found in that company’s brand portfolio,” it stated.

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

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