Drugs Health Medical

Don’t accept funds or work with the tobacco industry, WHO tells nations

Tobacco companies put profit before public health, and the WHO has urged nations not to work or partner with these firms.

HQ Team

May 4, 2023: Tobacco companies put profit before public health, and the WHO has urged nations not to work or partner with these firms.

The global health agency stated that the tobacco industry and its front partners continued to influence scientific research, public perception, policy-making, and the media to ensure the proliferation and the sale of nicotine and tobacco products.

“Decades of duplicitous behaviour prove that tobacco companies put profit before public health,” the WHO stated. “The tobacco industry uses a broad array of tactics to interfere with the setting and implementing tobacco control measures.”

One of the strategies is to undermine the credibility of WHO and its partners so that the public calls into question scientific evidence that proves the harm of tobacco and nicotine products.

The WHO and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control use evidence-based approaches that have helped save millions of lives, according to a WHO statement.

Legally binding

The international community must protect the implementation of the framework, which is a legally binding instrument.

The WHO FCTC helps keep the tobacco industry from interfering in public health policies. The framework contains a legal obligation for parties to protect public health policies from the tobacco industry.

WHO’s work with global tobacco control partners has strengthened public health and protected over 5 billion people with tobacco control measures.

“The tobacco industry’s multibillion-dollar campaign is constantly threatening these great strides in tobacco control.”

The WHO stated that the framework assisted parties in limiting interactions with the tobacco industry and rejecting partnerships with the industry. 

Irreconcilable conflict

“There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s and public health policy interests.”

WHO urged all member states to ensure they are not partnering with or accepting funds from the industry or its front groups.

“The tobacco industry should not be a partner in any initiative linked to setting or implementing public health policies, knowing that its interests are in direct conflict with the goals of public health,” according to a WHO statement.

The tobacco industry continued to amplify misinformation in the media, including the recent egregious attacks on tobacco control organizations. The tobacco industry is the only one that stands to benefit by undermining tobacco control organizations.

Cancer link denial

The international community must not forget that the tobacco industry knowingly denied its products were linked with cancer and falsely claimed there was no harm from secondhand smoke.

This misleading conduct continues even today, with tobacco, e-cigarette, and other nicotine companies concealing the addictive nature of their products while directly targeting children and young adults with advertisements for their harmful products.

“The tobacco industry has no place in tobacco control or harm reduction policy.”

Tobacco kills more than eight million people each year. More than seven million deaths result from direct tobacco use, while around 1.2 million results from non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke.

More than 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.

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