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STOP released the following statement on 7 February:

February 7, 2019 (Geneva, Switzerland) Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a global tobacco industry watchdog, welcomes news that World Health Organization’s Executive Board (WHO EB) reaffirmed its position that it will not work with the Philip Morris International (PMI)-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). STOP supports WHO’s call that governments and researchers should also reject overtures from FSFW.

Responding to statements from several countries and civil society organizations at the WHO EB session, Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus further reiterated WHO’s commitment to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s first global health treaty, and the provisions that oblige countries to protect tobacco control policies from tobacco companies and invested third parties.

“We applaud WHO and the countries such as Australia, Netherlands, Panama and Singapore, for standing firm on the evidence-based principle to not collaborate with FSFW, an organization entirely funded by PMI,” said Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath and research lead for STOP. “We urge researchers and governments currently being approached by FSFW to also recognize that FSFW has no place, either in public health science or at the policy table.”

Prior to WHO’s decision, more than 279 organizations and individuals in 50 countries signed an open letter put forward by STOP, urging WHO to reject a publicly advertised approach from the PMI-funded FSFW. In line with this letter, STOP prepared a statement that was delivered by representatives from the World Heart Federation, on behalf of STOP and other public health groups, at the WHO EB meeting in Geneva. The statement reflected broader concern about tobacco industry interference expressed by other member states and others at this session.

About STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products)

STOP is a global tobacco industry watchdog whose mission is to expose tobacco industry strategies and tactics to undermine public health. STOP is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and comprised of a partnership between The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, The Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, The Union’s Department of Tobacco Control and Vital Strategies.

Please contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to speak to a STOP spokesperson.



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Recently, the National Board of Revenue in Bangladesh has filed law suits against four chewing tobacco companies for tax evasion.


Leading tobacco control experts gathered in Bogotá, Colombia, to discuss tobacco taxation at an event organised by Union grantee, the Anáas Foundation, in partnership with Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano.

The event comes just ahead of important debates by Congress on tobacco taxes in the country.

Increasing tobacco taxes to ensure that tobacco products become increasingly unaffordable is a core policy to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In 2018, the taxes on tobacco products have increased in Colombia for the second consecutive year. The 200% tax increase accumulated over the past two years has contributed to the real price of cigarettes in Colombia increasing by 41 percent between December 2016 and October 2018.

To see this trend continue, experts want to see a further increase in tobacco tax for 2019 but in the initial proposal for a Public Finance Reform, being debated by Congress, a new rise was not mentioned.

Dr. Prabhat Jha, leading epidemiologist and health economist who spoke at the recent event said: “Global experience shows that tax increases are the most successful policy. In Colombia, for instance, increasing prices by 100 percent would save 300 thousand lives, because price increases triggered by tax hikes slow down purchases. The higher costs to consumers encourages smokers to quit and reduce treatment costs to the health care system.”

The Regional Director of The Union Latin America, Dr. Gustavo Sóñora said: “Raising tobacco taxes is a win-win-win policy because improve the public health, bring benefits to the public health and the public finances, decrease the health costs and increase the tax revenues”.

Blanca Llorente, Senior researcher at Anaas, also speaking at the event said: “The Colombian government should multiply by three the current excise tax. Tax revenues will continue their upward trend and may get closer to US$470 million per year. But most importantly, we would ensure that the current prevalence continues to drop and eventually reach 5 percent, reducing the financial burden to the health care system currently estimated at 0.6% of GDP.”

The participation of Dr. Prabhat Jha and Dr. Guillermo Paraje, two leading experts in the field, was possible thanks to the collaboration of the Global Tobacco Economics Consortium (GTEC) and the American Cancer Society.

The event was part of a Union grant for advancing and consolidating tax policy in Colombia, led by Blanca Llorente (Anáas Foundation) and Norman Maldonado (Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano), with funding from the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use (BI). The funding has also supported the development of the “Tax Monitoring Tool (IMPIT)”. This tool allows to keep a careful record of the results of tobacco tax policy, and is an example of the importance of building performance indicators to inform decision makers on the overall context of taxes.


In a session exploring e-cigarettes and other heated tobacco products (HTP) at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, Silvy Peeters, from the Tobacco Control Research Group


In India, both research and action are happening in a drive to understand and control tobacco use.

A study presented during a tobacco control session at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health,


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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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