The Secretariat of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) issued a statement to refute an organization, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (the Foundation), which is funded by the tobacco industry. The Secretariat denounced it as an attempt to interfere public health policy and damage the implementation of the convention.

According to the statement, the Foundation is funded solely by Philip Morris International with almost US$1 billion but it described itself as an independent organization. The launch of the Foundation is another marketing and public relations tactics of the tobacco industry to confuse the public and build up a socially responsible image.

The president of the Foundation is led by a former WHO official. However, he is in no way linked to the WHO FCTC nor represent the views of the Secretariat. In addition, parties to the WHO FCTC should be cautious for any collaboration with the Foundation as it would constitute a breach of Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC. It is reiterated that WHO FCTC is the world’s only treaty that recognized globally to curb tobacco epidemic for a smoke-free environment.

The statement also highlighted that the tobacco industry is introducing new products in pursuit of profit rather than public health, such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products. Regulatory measures to prohibit or restrict the manufacture, import, sale and use of these new products are recommended.

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