Philip Morris International recently announced plans to contribute close to US$1 billion over the coming decade to fund a new organisation called the "Foundation for a Smoke-Free World", whose stated priorities include supporting research on harm reduction and smoking cessation, identifying the right interventions, monitoring industry actions, and preparing tobacco farmers for a future of reduced demand.
As deans of the UGC-funded faculties of medicine, health and social sciences, and Chinese medicine, as well as sister schools in the self-financed sector where we collectively provide all undergraduate-level health professional education and training in Hong Kong, unanimously, we are announcing today that, based on scientific and moral grounds, our schools will not be accepting funding from or pursuing work with this Foundation or its affiliates.
Our position is in line with that adopted by the World Health Organization and other organizations that support smoking prevention and tobacco control efforts.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control—the world’s first public health treaty—states, “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.” If the tobacco industry really wished to establish a “smoke-free world” they would stop legal challenges to tobacco control efforts worldwide and cease advertising and manufacturing cigarettes and other tobacco products.
We consider funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World to be equivalent to funding from the tobacco industry and, as a result, we will not be collaborating with the Foundation.
Further, echoing Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, we call on Government to substantially increase tobacco duty in the upcoming Budget, which is widely recognised as the single most effective instrument to reducing the health and economic burden of smoking, based on decades of local and international experience and evidence.
Professor Eric Chan
School of Health Sciences
Caritas Institute of Higher Education
Professor LYU Aiping
School of Chinese Medicine
Hong Kong Baptist University
Professor Chan Ka Leung, Francis
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor Daniel T.L. Shek
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Professor Lee Kok Long, Joseph
School of Nursing and Health Studies
The Open University of Hong Kong
Professor Gabriel M Leung
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine
The University of Hong Kong
Professor Matthew Yau
School of Medical and Health Science
Professor Meyrick Chow
School of Nursing
Tung Wah College
(in alphabetical order by Institution)
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