(New York, United States, September 19, 2023) – We congratulate Concordia, an organization that convenes government, business, non-profit and philanthropic leaders, for deciding not to work with the tobacco industry, effective immediately. Concordia rescinded global cigarette giant Philip Morris International’s membership and removed its CEO from the speaker line-up at the Concordia Annual Summit.
We also applaud the leadership shown by health experts who refused to speak at a conference where a giant cigarette corporation was also on the stage. Such leadership was first demonstrated in 2018, when World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pulled out of the event due to PMI’s involvement.
Stopping the tobacco industry from spinning and influencing the debate in its favor
Concordia convenes political, business and non-profit leaders at the Annual Summit, a side event to the UN General Assembly meeting held in New York every September. Advocates have been sounding the alarm that these events are an opportunity for PMI, the world’s largest transnational cigarette maker, to lobby policymakers and influence debate in favor of its commercial interests. This potential influence on government ministers in attendance compromised their governments’ obligations under a global treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
These events have also allowed PMI to distract audiences with a narrative that omits how tobacco kills millions and devastates our planet. Far from working to end smoking, PMI increased cigarette shipments in the Middle East and Africa, the Americas and South and Southeast Asia in 2022, addicting new generations of tobacco users.
The tobacco industry, with a long track record of lies, should not share a platform with organizations that deliver progress toward a healthier world. We hope more organizations will follow Concordia’s example and end their engagement with tobacco companies. For Concordia, we hope this is a first step in ensuring greater transparency and that the interests of organizations participating in the Concordia initiative and its summit do not conflict with public health.
A summary of Concordia’s previous relationship with PMI is available here.
Please contact the STOP press office for more informaton or to speak to a STOP spokesperson.
STOP is a network of academic and public health organizations operating globally as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. STOP connects experts in all aspects of the tobacco industry’s business to expose and counter its relentless efforts to sell harmful, addictive products.