Philip Morris International, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, sells over 800 billion cigarettes every year. But Philip Morris has claimed they want to stop producing those billions of cigarettes in order to create a “smoke free future” and intends to spend $80 million to create the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is not buying it. Philip Morris and its parent company Altria still sell multiple brands of other deadly tobacco products like smokeless tobacco (chew, dip, snuff), cigar products (cigarillos, little cigars, etc), and electronic devices like their new pride and joy, iQOS. The WHO released a statement claiming a huge conflict of interest from a tobacco company that kills nearly half a million Americans every year wanting to create a health foundation, discouraging any government or public health organization from working with the foundation. Philip Morris may say it wants to create a smoke free world, but its contradictory actions speak louder. The company has a history of suing countries that try to curb smoking by selling cigarettes in plain packaging or with graphic health warnings.
Philip Morris claimed that its Foundation for a Smoke-Free Future will work independently from Philip Morris and other tobacco companies. Research that results from this foundation may prove to be gravely misleading, as the company has a history of funding biased research that ultimately make their products seem less deadly than they actually are. The public and worldwide health community must remain vigilant in the coming years.