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Derek Yach, actual director of the Vitality Institute, previously led tobacco control negotiations at WHO.
Derek Yach has stated that “The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World joins other smoking control organizations in condemning the activities of Philip Morris International (PMI) and other big tobacco companies around the world.”
Last September, renowned Big Tobacco company Philip Morris International Inc (PMI), announced that it would fund a foundation that will fight smoking, and Dr. Derek Yach accepted the position of President. Since being established, the Foundation For a Smoke-Free World has been under scrutiny for its link to PMI, and many have criticized Yach’s decision to accept a leading role within the organization as they find it hard to believe that a company that still sells cigarettes, actually has honest motifs.

In response to such concerns, Yach had said that he wants to assure his peers that he has not “gone over to the dark side,” adding that his relationship with PMI is based on opportunity not trust. “I am not naive enough to believe that Philip Morris is doing this because of the warm fuzzy feeling that they want to lower the death rates. No. What they want to do is have a product that is less risky and that makes them profits. That is the beginning and end of it.”

Yach banned from a major tobacco conference

However, Yach’s statement seems to have fallen on deaf ears as last week he was banned from the tobacco conference that took place in Cape Town. Perhaps as a reaction of this, Yach released the following statement to clarify once the foundation’s position.”

“The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World joins other smoking control organizations in condemning the activities of Philip Morris International (PMI) and other big tobacco companies around the world to fight efforts to implement tobacco control measures and phase out combustible cigarettes. Many lives have been lost to delays and obfuscation of science and fact around the deadly impacts of tobacco, and the tobacco industry is directly to blame for that. We call upon the industry to stop these practices and enable constructive tobacco control measures to be implemented in support of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and other public health initiatives.”

The shared vision to monitor Big Tobacco’s dubious practices

Yach pointed out that the foundation supports STOP, a campaign which aims to “aggressively monitor deceptive tobacco industry tactics and practices to undermine public health.”
In the second part of his statement, Yach pointed out that the foundation supports another foundation recently founded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The agency named Stop (Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products), aims to “aggressively monitor deceptive tobacco industry tactics and practices to undermine public health,” said Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Interestingly, there has been talk that STOP was brought about as a reaction to the formation of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World itself. Irrespectively, Yach is pointing out that his foundation actually shares the same vision as STOP.

“Because of the tobacco industry’s decades of deception, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World wholeheartedly supports the Bloomberg Foundation’s Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) campaign. We applaud the effort to monitor for public deception and “junk science” designed to cover up or mislead the public about the dangers of smoking or alternative products. We encourage independent review of all tobacco control science – including our own—and we encourage all tobacco control researchers to make their raw research data publicly available for secondary analyses, as the Foundation requires of its researchers.” stated Yach.

The Foundation for a Smoke Free world has released a video with the aim of sharing its vision.

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