Editorials

Tobacco giant wants to eliminate smoking . . .

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4443 (Published 26 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4443
  1. Simon Chapman, emeritus professor
  1. School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia
  1. simon.chapman{at}sydney.edu.au

. . . and pigs might fly

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an “independent” research funding body fully funded by Philip Morris, launched on 13 September.1 It will provide $960m (£711m; €808m) over 12 years to help “eliminate smoking worldwide.” No benchmarks for this modest task have apparently yet been announced. This largesse is a mere $80m a year from a company with global revenue in 2016 of $26.7bn2 and a marketing budget (in 2012) of $7bn intended overwhelmingly to promote smoking.3

Harm reduction

The long, deceptive, and failed history of tobacco harm reduction has seen filters (including crocidolite asbestos); misleading “reduced carcinogen” brands; and a wide range of breathlessly announced innovations.4 Each of these had their academic touts. None reduced harms from smoking, and the “lights” and “milds” reduced risk fiasco5 arguably kept many smoking who may have otherwise quit. Electronic vaporisers, with their growing consumer acceptability, may turn out to be the real deal. But with less than a decade of widespread use, any verdict …

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