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Renaming a Tobacco Industry Front Group Doesn’t Make It Less of a Front Group

May 14, 2024 (New York)—Vital Strategies today released the following statement regarding Global Action to End Smoking, an organization that recently changed its name from “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World ” after accepting $140 million from Philip Morris International.

“Having been rejected by the global public health community due to its links to cigarette giant Philip Morris International, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World may hope that changing its name will resuscitate the organization’s reputation and distract people from its industry links. Don’t be fooled- Global Action to End Smoking is entirely funded by a cigarette company and we have yet to see evidence that the leopard has truly changed its spots,” said Gan Quan, Senior Vice President, Tobacco Control Division, Vital Strategies. 

“In fact, it looks more like business as usual. We’ve seen no evidence that Global Action to End Smoking intends to promote policies that have been proven over decades to reduce tobacco use. They likely won’t challenge tobacco companies, including their funder, that continue to open new cigarette manufacturing plants and grow cigarette sales where they can. Instead, Global Action to End Smoking will most likely continue with the same playbook, promoting the tobacco industry’s self-interested “harm reduction” narrative that is mainly intended to sell more addictive, harmful products. 

“There is growing evidence that children, young people and non-smokers who may not otherwise have started to use nicotine or tobacco are becoming hooked on these products, risking the creation of a new wave of the global tobacco epidemic. And we do not know what harm that might cause. 

“Make no mistake, Global Action to End Smoking remains dependent on Philip Morris International’s money to fund its activities and its mission appears to align with the interests of its benefactor and other industry actors. Researchers at the University of Bath who study the tobacco industry have thoroughly analyzed the group’s activities and have concluded that it “cannot be deemed an independent public health body.” We urge governments, civil society advocates, and academic and research institutions to not engage with Global Action to End Smoking, its staff or its grantees.”

About Vital Strategies 

Vital Strategies believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We partner with governments, communities and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives.

To find out more, please visit  or follow us @VitalStrat.

Media Contacts: 

Ally Davis,