End smoking in this generation, within the next 30 years. This means eliminating combustible cigarettes worldwide. We, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, know this is a bold, complicated, and entirely attainable goal.
The why is urgent. The how will require embracing new ideas.
I am often asked, why are you leading this foundation? The answer is both obvious and deeply personal. Tobacco kills more than seven million people annually, yet one billion1 people continue to smoke; most are in low- and middle-income countries. Every life lost is one too many.
I also grew up watching many close relatives die prematurely from smoking. As a health professional, an advocate and a citizen, I understand the insidious nature of smoking and the toll it takes on people’s lives and livelihoods. We must do more.
Our mission at the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is simple: to end smoking in this generation, while mitigating the effects of this change on tobacco farmers and tobacco-dependent economies. I have worked to establish priorities and goals that complement those established by the World Health Organization and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, with an emphasis on ending smoking in adults; preparing smallholder farmers for future alternative livelihoods; and, strengthening scientific capacity in lower middle-income and low-income countries.
So what progress have we made and where are we going next?
To better understand the challenges facing smokers and the nicotine landscape in the 21st century, we commissioned/supported four landscape reports, including the Global State of Smoking Survey that polled smokers in 13 countries and the Global Cessation Landscape report that assessed the efficacy of the smoking cessation products and services available and in development. We uncovered a profound need for new solutions tailored to specific populations.
From there we focused on Accelerating Progress in scientific research, agricultural diversification, and industry change. Some highlights for me included:
This work is a strong start, but it is only the beginning. Accelerating Progress means strengthening our support for the true agents of change. Our recent three-year commitment of over $100 million to ten grantees is the first of many such announcements to come.
As I look ahead to 2019, I am humbled by the mission we've undertaken. It is ambitious, it is vitally important, and above all else it is new.
New, because we are listening with empathy to the smoker who wants to quit or shift to less harmful options.
New, because we are including the tobacco farmer and tobacco-dependent economies in our vision of a smoke-free future.
New, because we are promoting the industry-wide transformation that is critical to the success of our mission.
Ending smoking in this generation is a global challenge. As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches, I am reminded of the words of President Kennedy who, when discussing the goal to put a man on the moon, said we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard… because the challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”
Dr. Derek Yach
Foundation for a Smoke-Free World
At the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, we support, fund, and advance innovative programs and research that will lead to real change. Unique among our peers, our approach is based on first understanding the challenges smokers face when quitting, and then researching and applying innovative solutions. We’re committed to helping adult smokers quit the habit or switch to tobacco harm reduction products.
The Foundation, with a focus on smallholder tobacco farmers, is also dedicated to ensuring that vulnerable populations impacted by the declining demand for tobacco are supported to find sustainable alternative livelihoods.
There are over
smokers in the world today.1
Developing a solution is critical and timely. Smokers demand better and safer options, yet implementation of research, cessation, and harm reduction is lagging. Today, we have the opportunity to leverage innovative technology, which is separating the health risks associated with nicotine delivery from those of emissions found only in combustible cigarettes.
We can improve the lives and health of billions through our three core principles:
Complement ongoing tobacco control efforts to accelerate quitting and switching to tobacco harm reduction products while understanding the individual smoker.
Promote diversification in tobacco-dependent economies.
Focus on delivering change across the entire global tobacco industry and nicotine ecosystem.
Embedded in these principles is the Foundation’s commitment to gender equality and the application of a comprehensive gender perspective.
Malawi & Mozambique
India & United Kingdom
Board Vice Chair
Health, Science, and Technology
Agricultural Transformation Initiative
We know most smokers want to quit, but struggle with cessation tools that offer success rates of less than 10%.1 Improving the outcomes requires that we go beyond the current available information to understand the role that smoking plays in the individual smoker’s life in order to find the best solutions to help him or her quit.
Over the next several years, we will leverage data, research, and input from stakeholders and experts to complement ongoing tobacco control efforts by the World Health Organization. We will accelerate the development of more effective tools to help smokers quit or reduce their risks with a focus on building capacity for research targeting the low- and middle-income countries where the majority of smokers live.
We are preparing for a future of reduced tobacco demand. Our goal is to make the agriculture sector globally more competitive by working with smallholder tobacco farmers to help develop new business models that create value for existing participants in the tobacco supply chain.
To achieve its mission, the ATI is partnering with the private sector, smallholder farmer organizations, government and financial stakeholders to catalyze investment, develop and strengthen extension services, and promote entrepreneurship to support tobacco farmers in their efforts to transition to alternative crops and livelihoods.
Our Industry Transformation efforts focus on attaining change within the global tobacco industry and nicotine ecosystem. Establishing a complete data set that encompasses the companies that produce nicotine-based products is a necessary precursor to developing effective policies. The Global Trends in Nicotine report is an important part of our overall research efforts and lays the groundwork for our work.
The Smoke-Free Index™, which is the first action of the Foundation’s Industry Transformation initiative, will provide quantifiable evidence over time of what steps the largest tobacco companies are taking toward achieving a smoke-free world and any actions they take to undermine that progress.
Grants authorized in 2018: $25.7 million
In 2018, we made meaningful first steps to empower the agents of change who will improve the health and lives of all.
To accelerate progress on smoking cessation, we engaged with EY-Parthenon’s Global Life Sciences Practice to produce Smoking Cessation Products and Services: Global Landscape Analysis.
To advance knowledge about harm reduction, we supported the development of the first global review of the topic: No Fire, No Smoke: Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2018 (GSTHR).
To initiate dialogue with smokers, we conducted a Worldwide State of Smoking Survey of smokers in 13 countries to shed light on addictiveness, smoking behaviors, awareness, and consumption of alternative products.
To promote transformation of the tobacco and nicotine ecosystem, we published The Global Trends in Nicotine report. This important research lays the groundwork for the Smoke-Free Index™, which will annually evaluate 15 of the largest tobacco companies in the world.
To prepare farmers for a post-tobacco economy, we held our first Agricultural Transformation Initiative Summit in Malawi, working with smallholder tobacco farmers to identify alternative livelihoods in this tobacco-dependent country.
In the years to come, we will continue to Accelerate Progress by honoring these commitments as well as making new grants to further our mission.
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, U.S. nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation. The Foundation is currently funded by Philip Morris International (PMI) through a binding pledge agreement for 12 years. The Foundation guaranteed its independence through its Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws that preclude any influence from PMI or any other tobacco company on the Foundation’s activities or funded research. The Foundation’s Board of Directors and independent external auditors hired by the Board ensure compliance.Next: 2018 Progress