The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) will stop accepted funding from the nicotine industry, reports Reuters.
Set up in 2017 with support from Philip Morris International, which pledged to provide tens of millions of dollars every year for 12 years to keep it running, the organization has struggled to gain credibility with tobacco control advocates.
The foundation will now rebrand and find new funders from outside of the industry, said Clifford Douglas, who took the foundation’s helm in October.
A tobacco control advocate veteran, Douglas said he wants to see the foundation reestablished as a credible actor in ending smoking.
“Any skepticism around our independence can be laid to rest,” he said.
Tobacco control groups expressed reservations, however.
“Whether it’s true or not, [Douglas] will be seen as pursuing PMI’s agenda, not that of public health,” said Deborah Arnott, CEO of Action on Smoking and Health in the U.K. The foundation’s role, she said, was “irredeemably tainted” by its PMI funding.
Yolonda Richardson, president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said it was “ludicrous” for the foundation to claim independence after accepting a hefty payment from PMI.
PMI said the split was mutual, and wished the foundation success.