Industry Update: Philip Morris International and Foundation for a Smoke-Free World
Philip Morris International (PMI) has declared that it would like smokers to stop smoking and is “designing a smoke-free future.” In September 2017 the creation of the “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World” (FSFW) was announced to “accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide.” FSFW founder and president-designate Dr. Derek Yach emphasizes that the Foundation is and will remain legally, operationally and philosophically distinct and separate from PMI. The Foundation reports that its main activities are to support global research; provide direction on the fastest ways to reduce smoking; provide third-party research analysis; and prepare tobacco farmers for an era of reduced demand. The press release announcing the launch of FSFW talks of “recent shifts in policy and science” on tobacco harm reduction upon which the Foundation will build. Not surprisingly, this is in alignment with PMI’s focus to shift smokers away from cigarettes—but not to have them quit using tobacco or nicotine—towards what it claims are less harmful products such as iQOS, its heated tobacco product. PMI has committed $80 million USD annually for the next 12 years, and the Foundation hopes that others will follow suit with donations to diversify its financial support.