The Foundation, a philanthropic organization, was formed to help the world’s more than 1 billion smokers quit and reduce their risks from smoking, which remains the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death. The purpose of the Foundation is to improve global health by ending smoking in this generation. Our mission is also to address the impacts of a reduced demand for tobacco on smallholder tobacco farmers, and to help them transition to alternative crops and livelihoods.
The Foundation was founded and is led by President Dr. Derek Yach, a renowned global health expert and anti-smoking advocate for more than 30 years. Dr. Yach is a former Executive Director for Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health at the World Health Organization (WHO). He served as Cabinet Director at the WHO, where he was instrumental in the development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Dr. Yach emphasized the urgent need to implement tobacco control measures globally. He authored an important review article that outlined the origins and strategies that were used to forge the WHO FCTC. Dr. Yach identified the need to accelerate global tobacco control efforts and to identify new and emerging approaches to drive and accelerate progress toward achieving a smoke-free world.
Other organizations focus mainly on tobacco control measures regarding government regulations that do not include tobacco harm reduction in their efforts to reduce tobacco-related diseases and death. Many of them are funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, or by governments. On the other hand, the Foundation’s work supports a full array of tobacco control measures, as proposed by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). While other organizations neglect FCTC-agreed elements such as harm reduction (which is an integral part of the definition of tobacco control in Article 1 of the main FCTC text), science and innovation, and alternatives to tobacco—as a matter of fact, the words “science” and “harm reduction” are not even mentioned in the last progress report of the FCTC—we will address these elements. In fact, the Foundation takes one of the broadest approaches to tobacco control. Our work will focus on those elements that have been relatively underfunded and/or neglected (e.g., tobacco harm reduction, science, research, innovation, and implementation of tobacco control measures in vulnerable populations).
While funding for research on smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction, for example, is concentrated in the United States and the United Kingdom (with some important work underway in Europe), the Foundation aims to fund research globally. Countries where tobacco control progress has been slower and smoking-related impacts greater, often lack the resources and research capacity to investigate effective tobacco control initiatives. Low-income countries received merely 0.3% of direct grants for health research in 2015. The Foundation will fill these gaps, by supporting research also in low- and middle-income countries, where 80% of the global smoking population resides. We will help them build their tobacco research capacity and implement effective interventions to end smoking.
We plan to combine our innovative approaches with proven best practices in the areas of smoking cessation, tobacco harm reduction, behavior economics, policy, and taxation.
Furthermore, the Foundation is seeking to address a critical need for crop diversification by helping tobacco farmers in countries that are economically over-reliant on tobacco diversify their crops and livelihoods. As the demand for tobacco declines worldwide, crop diversification is becoming increasingly crucial.
The Foundation makes and will make available the following:
The Foundation has also created an internal review panel to assess the status of innovative projects and the research the Foundation is funding. This panel is composed of experts who acknowledge status quo–disrupting technologies.
The Foundation supports research that addresses our three core pillars: Health, Science, & Technology; Agriculture & Livelihoods; and Industry Transformation. We provide grants to support work that is being conducted by independent research organizations, academic institutions and centers, and organizations in the private sector. You can access the list of Foundation grants here.
The Foundation has supported/commissioned the following reports:
The global State of Smoking Survey 2018 enrolled more than 17,000 participants in 2017 to determine smokers’ behavioral patterns, their perceptions of addictiveness and risks related to tobacco harm reduction products versus conventional cigarettes, and barriers to quitting.
Some of the key findings of the survey revealed that smoking is intricately linked to pleasurable rituals such as drinking coffee, as reported by the smokers. 60% to 91% of smokers consider themselves addicted to cigarettes, and 25% to 78% plan to quit. The highest rate of smokers who used e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to try to quit was 24%. There were notable discrepancies among countries regarding product harm perceptions. For example, a higher proportion of smokers in low- and middle-income countries (e.g., India) versus high-income countries (e.g., Japan) misperceive e-cigarettes as being more harmful than cigarettes. Additionally, a high proportion (up to 58%) of smokers wrongly believe that nicotine in e-cigarettes causes cancer.
The report highlighted for the first time the availability and use, at global, regional, and national levels, of reduced harm nicotine products relative to combustible tobacco. Such products include, but are not limited to, e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, and smokeless snus, and are referred to as “safer nicotine products (SNPs) in the report. The report also shed light on the regulatory responses to harm reduction products, and the potential public health benefit of tobacco harm reduction. “‘Quit or Die’ is no longer the only option for those who cannot give up nicotine.” The cost of harm reduction interventions and strategies to governments is stated to be insignificant compared to other public health interventions.
The project aimed to catalog the variety of products and services offered to smokers who want to quit. A total of 89 distinct smoking cessation products and services were identified, in addition to 12 smoking alternatives that are not indicated specifically for smoking cessation. Prescription drugs and nicotine replacement therapies were noted to have a 12-month abstinence efficacy rate of up to 23%, as opposed to behavioral interventions, which had an estimated efficacy rate of 13%. The analysis also highlighted the limited clinical evaluation of the growing number of technology solutions, notably self-guided smoking cessation applications on mobile devices. Additionally, the number of pharmaceutical and medical device candidates in the development pipeline was limited, suggesting no breakthrough treatments are to be expected within the next 5 to 10 years.
This report identifies the major players in nicotine delivery, outlines their product organizations and geographic focus, and quantifies their output. The reports highlights the following: An estimated USD $785 billion were attributed to global retail sales associated with the nicotine ecosystem in 2017; the retail volume in terms of cigarette stick equivalents was estimated at 6.1 trillion in 2017, with an additional trillion when illicit trade and locally manufactured combustible tobacco products were included; China National Tobacco Corporation is the largest producer at 38% retail volume share, followed by the five publicly traded tobacco companies headquartered in Europe, Japan, and the United States.
This report presents six cases studies of companies (DSM, Waste Management, IBM, GE, Interface, and Ford) that undertook business transformations. As the tobacco industry is also undergoing a transformation toward “cleaner” products, the key takeaways from this report may be relevant to the tobacco industry: Successful companies understand the reality of the high possibility of their “fall” and shift their footing to prevent the “fall”; companies implement strategies that satisfy their customers⎯current ones—and plan to satisfy future ones; adequate communication about the transformation is crucial during the process; transformation could be a lengthy and gradual process, although some cases may warrant immediate action; investment in new adventures is key despite any threats they may cause to the core business; and, finally, business transformation is not without risk and success is not guaranteed.