Polish letter warning academe about Foundation for Smoke Free World Funding

For the attention of: Chancellor, Vice-Rectors, Deans Minister of Health

prof. dr hab. Marcin Gruchała

Warsaw, on 09 January 2018

ZPP 078.96.2017

According to the distribution list

Dear Sirs, Firstly, I would like to point out that Poland, in pursuit of its smoke-free policy, is obliged to base its actions on the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), signed in Geneva on 21 May 2003. It is worth emphasising here that FCTC, as an international agreement ratified by the Act of 16 January 2007 on the applicable WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), signed in Geneva on 21 May 2003 (Journal of Laws of 2007, No. 74 item 488), has been implemented into the Polish legal system.

The Ministry of Health pays special attention to the fact that Art. 5(3) of the above-mentioned Convention provides that “In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law”. Moreover, one of the primary principles that should be followed by the States Parties to the Convention is that an irreconcilable conflict of interest exists between the tobacco industry and the States’ public health policies. For further information, please find attached the statement issued by the FCTC Secretariat on the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World founded by Philip Morris International.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that in September 2017, the World Health Organization issued a statement of non-cooperation with that organisation. In recent weeks, WHO has noticed considerable efforts made by the Foundation in order to become engaged in the activities of governments, civil society groups, and tobacco control experts. Also, many in academia feel that they are encouraged to accept funds offered by the aforementioned organisation, as well as to participate in research activities concerning innovative solutions in the field of tobacco products.

In the view of WHO, the activities of the foundation are in clear contradiction with FCTC and the guidelines that it lays down, in particular with Article 5(3) cited above, meaning that states, organisations, and individuals are urged not to request or accept any funds provided by that foundation.

As translated from Google Translate

Considering the above, please be informed that the Ministry of Health, in any potential further legislative work aimed to reduce the use of tobacco products and related products, including any novel tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, shall take no account of the results of any research conducted in cooperation with or with financing from the tobacco industry.

(-) For the
Zbigniew J. Król

1. Correspondence with the FCTC Secretariat

For the attention of:
1. The WHO Country Office in Poland

Received on: 17 January 2018
Ref. no. 44/2018

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