Keep Cigarette Giant Philip Morris International OUT of Your University

Global cigarette giant Philip Morris International – maker of cigarette brands including Marlboro, Parliament, L&M, and more – has invested close to one billion US dollars in a new effort to undermine public health efforts around the world: the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

By masquerading as an independent, health-focused organization, the Philip Morris-funded organization is trying to work with credible leaders in the public health community to further the interests of Big Tobacco. Ask your university to pledge not to work with Philip Morris and the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

As you read this, the Philip Morris International-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World” is aggressively working to lure schools of public health and public health professionals into collaborations that undermine government efforts to end the global tobacco epidemic.

Dedicated public health professionals work around the globe to protect and improve community health and well-being. Millions of people are alive today thanks to public health initiatives like vaccination programs, motor vehicle safety policies, clean air and water standards—and tobacco-control policies. Because these achievements result in longer, healthier lives, schools of public health are trusted leaders in designing, championing and implementing public health policies that reverberate around the world. 

However, the uniquely crucial role schools of public health play in keeping communities safe has also made them desirable partners for tobacco companies seeking to co-opt their credibility and contributions to communities around the world. Tobacco companies are responsible for more than 8 million deaths worldwide each year, and that’s why they seek allies and otherwise work to repaint their corporate image with governments, policymakers and the public.

Tobacco companies’ latest attempt to co-opt schools of public health comes in the form of the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The foundation seeks to appropriate the credibility of schools of public health (among other institutions) in its efforts to obfuscate tobacco-control research and policy, undermine progress in implementing the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and disguise decades of deceit and destruction caused by its sole funder, cigarette maker Philip Morris International.

Here’s what you need to know about the Philip Morris International-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”:

  1. The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is funded solely by Philip Morris International—one of the world’s leading cigarette companies—which actively works across the globe to defeat and undermine public health policies proven to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco.
  2. To date, the Philip Morris-funded “Foundation” has allocated the majority of its expenditures to for-profit public relations firms, many of which also work for Philip Morris.
  3. Tobacco company-funded research poses a threat to advancing global public health. This is not the first time that tobacco companies like Philip Morris International have funded biased research efforts on tobacco use. For decades, Philip Morris and other tobacco-related entities have sought to establish industry-favorable research via the creation and funding of allegedly independent research organizations, such as the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) and the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR), to protect themselves against litigation threats and government regulation.

Accepting funding from the foundation legitimizes Philip Morris International’s actions and distracts from the company’s true aim of increasing profits by marketing its deadly products around the world.

Take a part in keeping schools of public health fully tobacco-free – pledge to not collaborate with the Philip Morris International-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.”

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