NEW YORK, May 29, 2019 – More than 30 years after World No Tobacco Day was launched to raise awareness of the devasting health effects of tobacco use, there are still more than a billion smokers in the world. Researchers are mobilizing globally to improve cessation and harm-reduction tools to help raise quitting success rates that are, at most, between 12% and 23%.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and their global partners mark every May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. Smokers are urged to abstain from smoking for 24 hours. The focus of this year’s observance is lung health, because tobacco smoking remains the leading cause of deadly lung and respiratory diseases. According to a Global Burden of Disease study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, of the more than 8 million deaths attributed to tobacco use in 2017, 2.88 million of those deaths were from chronic respiratory diseases; tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer; and tuberculosis.
“As millions of people continue to die from tobacco-related diseases, it’s clear that an annual World No Tobacco observance day is not enough.” said Dr. Derek Yach, President of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. “We need to expand the body of scientific knowledge and technology around smoking cessation and harm reduction to drive toward new solutions that will help eliminate all tobacco product use and save lives.”
The Foundation provides grants that will allow more than 100 researchers to advance knowledge expansion in multiple smoking cessation and harm-reduction areas, including biomarker discovery, outcomes of quitting/switching on the microbiome, and innovative clinical trial designs of cessation therapies. With this support, several leading health research organizations and universities will collaborate on tobacco control work with an emphasis on solutions applicable to low- and middle-income countries, where most of the world’s smokers live.
The research projects are aligned with the Foundation’s strategic plan for its health, science, and technology initiatives, which complement ongoing tobacco control efforts by the WHO. The Foundation’s grants are reviewed by an independent board and are solicited directly or via requests for proposals (RFPs). All research will be published regardless of results. To learn more about the Foundation’s grants and initiatives, please take a look at the 2018 Annual Report.
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, US nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation. The Foundation supports its mission through three core pillars: Health, Science, and Technology; the Agricultural Transformation Initiative; and Industry Transformation. The Foundation’s Health, Science, and Technology work complements ongoing tobacco control efforts and focuses on countries where most smokers live, with a smoker-oriented agenda to accelerate quitting and switching to reduced-harm products. The Agricultural Transformation Initiative aims to diversify tobacco-dependent economies; and the Foundation’s Industry Transformation efforts focus on attaining change within the entire global tobacco industry and nicotine ecosystem.
The Foundation has received contributions from Philip Morris International (PMI) in 2018 and 2019 each in the amount of US$80 million. PMI has pledged to contribute $80 million annually for the next ten years. Under the Foundation’s Bylaws and Pledge Agreement, PMI and the tobacco industry, generally, are precluded from having any control or influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities. The Foundation’s acceptance of the contributions does not constitute an endorsement by the Foundation of any of the pledger’s products.
For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.smokefreeworld.org.
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