“Already, a hundred million people using harm reduction products and projections suggest that if these tools were more widely available, we would be able to cut the long-term trends of deaths by maybe between 3 and 4 million,” he added.
Dr. Yach, is the former president of the controversial Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, which while independent of the tobacco industry, is funded by one of the main tobacco companies in the world. In 2017 Philip Morris International Inc (PMI), had announced it was allocating $1 billion to set up the foundation to help fight smoking, and then dispense a further $80 million yearly towards the project for the following 12 years.
Using the resources available to big tobacco to help counteract the damage it caused
Naturally from the get go, many anti-smoking experts were sceptical that the aim of such a motion was nothing but an effort to ensure the visibility and success of Philip Morris’ harm reduction product, iQOS, and promote any other Big Tobacco agendas.
However Yach who is widely respected as an anti-tobacco activist who had played a main role in the enactment of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005, had explained that he regarded this initiative as an opportunity to use the resources available to the tobacco industry, to help counteract the damage it has caused. He rightfully added that despite believing in the provisions of the FCTC in preventing people from becoming smokers, he doesn’t think it has done much in assisting existing smokers to quit.
Infact, sharing his insights as a speaker in the Michael Russell keynote titled “Why has the WHO FCTC failed to reduce adult smoking and its health impact?,” Yach highlighted that despite such changes made possible by investment in innovation, policy has lost touch with science. “Industry has created tools that have the potential to create one of the most profound public health shifts in history,” he said.
Read Further: The Manila Times