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Anti-tobacco campaigner protest against research supported by tobacco companies

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 10th January, 2023 05:21:17 PM
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Anti-tobacco campaigner protest against research supported by tobacco companies

The anti-tobacco campaigners Progga and ATMA have protested against carrying out anti-tobacco research programmes with the support of tobacco companies terming it as marketing tactics in disguise of promoting research. 

In a written statement on Tuesday, the anti-tobacco campaigning organizations Progga (Knowledge for progress) and Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) said foundation for Smoke-free World (FSFW), a front organization financed by multinational tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI)will be supporting a study on the adverse impact of smoking in Bangladesh. 

The UK-based Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), Enam Medical College, and Association for Community Empowerment (ACE) will be conducting the research. CSUR UK has been listed among the grantees of FSFW and is infamous for conducting so-called researches on behalf of tobacco companies. 
However, it is concerning to see the involvement of a renowned body such as Enam Medical College with FSFW, an entity that has generated massive controversy for its anti- public health moves.

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. 

The Progga and ATMA said 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 ACE and Enam Medical College should also refrain from involving themselves with such an entity that is against public health.