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Home » Latest News » Tobacco Industry Funding Tobacco Control Measures!

Tobacco Industry Funding Tobacco Control Measures!

The Bangladesh Blind Mission(BBM) has started implementing a project with an aim to reduce the harms ofsmoking with support from Foundation for Smoke-free World (FSFW), a front organization financed by multinational tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI). The organization has also taken an initiative to organize a workshop on tobacco cessation on March 27, 2023 in collaboration with the Non-Communicable Disease Control program of the Directorate General of Health Services. Shortly after the matter was brought to the attention of the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) of the Ministry of Health, it sent a letter to the relevant government agency requesting to halt the workshop and refrain from supporting the activities of Foundation for Smoke-free World.

It should be noted that Foundation for Smoke-Free World (FSFW), founded in 2017 with funds provided by PMI has already caused grave concern among public health and anti-tobacco activists. FSFW mainly promotes and encourages the use and marketing of various vaping products, including e-cigarettes. Following the Foundation’s inception, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also released a statement where it argued that any involvement or cooperation with this Foundation poses a grave conflict of interest. In a different statement, the WHO FCTC Secretariat said, ‘Parties to the WHO FCTC should note that any collaboration with this Foundation, due to its current funding arrangement that comes from a tobacco multinational, would constitute a clear breach of Article 5.3 of the Convention concerning tobacco industry interference.’ It is a matter of concern that the activity of this foundation is being noticed in Bangladesh for the past few years. A number of countries, including India, have decided not to work with the FSFW on a government level to prevent its controversial activities. However, Bangladesh is yet to take any such measure on this issue. As a signatory to the FCTC, Bangladesh should also not be involved with FSFW as per the suggestion of the WHO and provide necessary and clear directives in this regard. At the same time, all Bangladeshi organizations including Bangladesh Blind Mission (BBM) should also refrain from involving themselves with such an entity that is against public health.

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