Conrad Foundation Should Sever Ties with Philip Morris-Funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Statement of American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, The Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Truth Initiative and Vital Strategies
October 23, 2018

Washington, D.C.—Leading public health groups are calling on the Texas-based Conrad Foundation to immediately sever ties with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an organization founded and entirely funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris International. For the second year in a row, the Conrad Foundation has partnered with the Philip Morris-funded foundation on an initiative working with U.S. high school students. The legitimate mission of the Conrad Foundation is inconsistent with the clear goals of both Philip Morris and the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World: to sell more tobacco products.

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is part of the same strategy Philip Morris and other tobacco companies have used for over 60 years to fight efforts to reduce smoking. The Philip Morris-funded foundation has been widely recognized by leading public health groups, universities and advocates as nothing more than a well-financed tactic to portray Philip Morris as part of the solution to the global tobacco epidemic, which kills more than 7 million people worldwide each year and is fueled by the world’s largest cigarette companies.

In fact, far from being part of the solution, Philip Morris is a major cause of this enormous global health crisis and tobacco companies remain the single greatest obstacle to more global progress in combatting the enormous burden of tobacco-related death and disease. Philip Morris, the sole funder of the Conrad Foundation’s partner, spends billions to market tobacco products around the world by targeting young people on social media or surrounding elementary schools with advertisements for its cigarette brands. It also works across the globe to defeat and undermine proven policies to reduce tobacco use.

We strongly urge the Conrad Foundation to publicly end all ties with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The interests of big tobacco companies like Philip Morris International have been clear for decades. There is no role for legitimate businesses and organizations in supporting this deadly agenda.