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Former WHO executive to head PMI-backed foundation

13 Sep 2017. Dr Derek Yach, a key architect of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), founded and will head an anti-smoking initiative to be initially funded by Philip Morris International (PMI).

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World was formally launched on 13 Sept in New York City. The foundation confirmed a 12 Sept announcement by PMI that funding would come from the cigarette maker in one dozen annual installments of USD 80 million (EUR 67 million).

FCTC’s Article 5.3 warns treaty adherents against working with the tobacco industry. “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests,” article guidelines state.

The foundation said it was independent and would seek additional financial backers. “The grant terms, bylaws, and non-profit status of the foundation preclude PMI or other tobacco industry representatives from involvement in foundation governance, or from having any influence over the foundation’s funding decisions, strategy, or activities,” it said.

PMI has set a goal of ending its cigarette production and has invested substantial amounts of money in developing non-combustible tobacco products and nicotine-delivery systems. “The foundation is a welcome driver of change, at a time when a smoke-free future is clearly on the horizon,” said PMI Chief Executive Officer André Calantzopoulos.