For decades, major tobacco companies have misled the public through deceptive marketing and outright falsehoods about the safety of their products. In addition to aggressively marketing conventional cigarettes to young people in low- and middle-income countries, the industry is promoting products such as heat-not-burn and e-cigarettes as cessation devices, despite inconclusive evidence about their effectiveness. Tobacco industry-funded research has also succeeded in masking behavior that has ultimately proved harmful to smokers. Philip Morris International also recently helped found “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,” a move seen by many public health experts as a thinly veiled effort to legitimize their industry and influence policy.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ total STOP investment of $20 million over three years supports the creation of a robust global monitoring system to pinpoint manipulation and deceptive or illegal practices by the tobacco industry, delivering regular reports and providing resources and training to help countries work against it. STOP is also liaising with existing the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use partners to supplement national-level grants to nonprofits and governments.
Top photo: Mike Bloomberg launched Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) while in Cape Town, South Africa for the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in March 2018.