ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation joins WHO in rejecting Philip Morris-funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”

28/02/2019, Dublin, Ireland – ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation welcomes the World Health Organization (WHO)’s position to reject working with the Phillip Morris International (PMI)-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). WHO’s statement follows FSFW’s recent outreach to the WHO Executive Board (WHO EB) regarding potential partnerships.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, said at the 144th Session of the WHO EB that WHO remains committed to the full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), a global treaty mandating states to, among others, protect their governments from interference by the tobacco industry.

ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation is also calling on governments and researchers to reject funding from entities funded by the tobacco industry like FSFW. “We join the WHO in calling on governments and research institutions to shun any prospect of receiving support or research funding from the tobacco industry as well as from those furthering its interests. FSFW is entirely funded by PMI which continues to earn billions at the expense of those who fall prey to tobacco addiction. Our concern is that FSFW effectively operationalizes PMI’s corporate affairs strategy to further PMI’s business interests which include the promotion of its heated tobacco products, a market which PMI seeks to dominate,” said Dr. Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation

The WHO FCTC, the world’s first global health treaty, states: “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.”

Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), a global tobacco industry watchdog, initiated an open letter supported by over 300 organizations and experts to challenge FSFW’s move to reverse WHO’s 2017 warning that governments and the public health community should not partner with FSFW.

On February 6, STOP welcomed WHO’s reiteration of its position and “urged researchers and governments currently being approached by FSFW to also recognize that FSFW has no place, either in public health science or at the policy table.”

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[info@ash.ie]

Contact:

Mark Murphy
Advocacy Officer
Irish Heart Foundation
Email: mmurphy@irishheart.ie Tel: 01 634 6948

Press release WHO PMI

Tobacco industry-funded organization is not a partner of public health

Date: 28/02/2019

Recipient: Department of Health

Re: Tobacco industry-funded organization is not a partner of public health

We, ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation, a group that advocates for reduced tobacco use and associated disease, disability and death, join almost 300 organizations and experts from around the world in welcoming the World Health Organization (WHO)’s reiteration that “WHO will not partner with the Foundation (for a Smoke-Free World [FSFW]). Governments should not partner with the Foundation and the public health community should follow this lead.”

This reiteration was made in response to FSFW’s outreach to the WHO Executive Board recently. FSFW is an entity funded entirely by Philip Morris International (PMI), which has a “known history of funding research to advance its own vested interest.”

With a whopping $1-billion committed funding from PMI, FSFW is offering to fund research on agriculture, economics, and medical science, including so-called smoking alternatives such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (including IQOS, a device PMI aggressively markets).

As a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the Irish government is obliged to protect its public health and tobacco control policies against tobacco industry interference under Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC. Compliance with this treaty provision requires governments to, among others, reject contributions and partnerships from the tobacco industry and those furthering its interests like FSFW.

The tobacco industry is a peril to the health and welfare of the Irish public. The tobacco industry has a long-established record of blocking, delaying or diluting any kind of tobacco control policy that is aimed at reducing the prevalence of smoking in Ireland. ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation will continue to advocate for increased tobacco taxation, a greater level of investment in smoking cessation support services and additional tobacco control measures.

Only this month, another powerful tobacco company, British American Tobacco (BAT), announced its latest global tobacco marketing strategy—promote its vaping products in Formula One. In the past, such a tie-up to promote cigarette brands had facilitated worldwide exposure of tobacco products to millions of people due to Formula One’s “considerable appeal among youth and young adults.”

It is in this new era of global marketing strategies by an industry whose addictive, lethal products kill millions of people that we are urging your office to be vigilant about preventing industry interference including the PMI-funded FSFW. We also urge your office to reject funding from any entity or research funded by the tobacco industry and those furthering its interests.

Likewise, we appeal to your office to send a letter to the Health Research Board and other similar research institutes and educational institutions to warn them that research results from the tobacco industry and those funded by it such as FSFW must be rejected or disregarded by the government.

We must not be complicit in any act that supports an industry determined to undo the public health gains that took years of hard work to achieve. We look forward to working with you on effective measures to protect health policies from tobacco industry interference.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick Doorely,

Chairperson, ASH Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation

ASH Letter to Government WHO PMI

New research on E-cigarettes in the New England Journal of Medicine: Dr. Patrick Doorley interview with LMFM Radio

Dr. Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation spoke with the east coast local radio station LMFM about the new piece of research in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that E-cigarettes were more effective for smoking cessation than nicotine-replacement therapy, when both products were accompanied by behavioural support.

Dr. Doorley provided context and gave an insight into the new piece of research, along with discussing ways to quit smoking.

The interview was broadcast live on the Michael Reade show on the 1st of February but you can find a link to the audio of the show here.

To listen back to the interview with Dr. Patrick Doorley, please click on the audio below.

Letter published in Irish Times on Vaping and Health

Dr. Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation submitted a letter to the Irish Times in response to an article on Vaping and Health on the 11th of February. The letter was published on Monday the 18th of February in the letters section of the Irish Times.

You can find the link to the letter here – https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/vaping-and-health-1.3795521

Delayed legislation on e-cigarettes: Dr. Patrick Doorley featured in the Times Ireland

Dr. Patrick Doorley, chairperson of ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation, spoke with the Times Ireland edition on the delayed introduction on e-cigarettes by the Department of Health and the risk this poses due to the potential impact it has for licensed retailers to sell to young smokers. The article featured in the Sunday Times newspaper on the 9th of December 2018 but you can find the link to the article here 

Smoking rates in Ireland: Dr. Patrick Doorley interview with LMFM Radio

Dr. Patrick Doorley, Chairperson of ASH Ireland, Council of the Irish Heart Foundation spoke with the east coast local radio station LMFM about the prevalence of smoking in Ireland.

The interview was broadcast live on the Michael Reade show on Friday the 4th of January but you can find a link to the podcast of the show here.

To listen back to the interview with Dr. Patrick Doorley, please click on the audio below.

ASH Ireland responds to Lancet article on Smoking in Pregnancy

The Lancet Global Health journal published an article in June 2018 stating that Ireland has the highest prevalence in the world of smoking in pregnancy. In November, they published this response from Dr Patrick Doorley and Dr Joan Hanafin, ASH Ireland.

 

Smoking and pregnancy in Ireland

Pat Doorley and Joan Hanafin

In their paper “National, regional, and global prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis”[1], Shannon Lange and colleagues report the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature from 1985-2016 to estimate the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy by country, WHO region, and globally. Smoking during pregnancy leads to adverse effects for women and children and this much-needed report is welcome. Estimates for smoking during pregnancy were calculated via meta-analysis for 43 countries and via statistical modelling for 131 countries and, at 38%, Ireland was reported to have the highest estimated prevalence of all countries.

We enter a note of caution in relation to the figure for Ireland. The five studies (1992, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2011) used to calculate estimates for Ireland had small sample sizes (n=100; 127; 151; 450; 1011), and the two very high prevalence rates (62% and 60.6%) were published in 1992 and 1996 respectively. In recent decades, Ireland has introduced a suite of tobacco control measures leading to substantial decreases in smoking prevalence in the general population and among pregnant women, specifically as a result of the 2004 Smoking Ban[2]. Smoking prevalence for women in Ireland was 32% in 1998[3] and had decreased to 14.7%[4] in 2017, although it was highest in the 25-34 year age group at 26.1%.

Two recent Irish studies (2012, 2017) [5] [6] from the time period of the study, with large sample sizes indicate that smoking prevalence in pregnancy is greatly less than the estimated 38% and continues to fall annually. Data from the national longitudinal study Growing Up in Ireland reported by McCrory and Layte (2012) show that 28% of mothers whose children were born between 1997 and 1998 reported that they smoked during pregnancy, and this fell to 18% of mothers whose children were born in 2007. A study of over 42,500 women who passed through the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin (Reynolds et al. 2017) recorded annual decreases in smoking during pregnancy, with prevalence dropping from 14.3% to 10.9% between 2011 and 2015.

The decrease in smoking during pregnancy is a positive development for public health policy in Ireland but further efforts are needed, especially among disadvantaged populations, if smoking-related risk to pregnant mothers, their infants and children is to be further reduced.

Patrick Doorley & Joan Hanafin, Submitted June 2018; Published November 2018 in The Lancet Global Health

References

[1] Lange, S, Probst, C, Rehm, J, and Popova, S. (2018). National, regional, and global prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. (published online May 30.) Lancet Glob Health. 2018; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30223-7

[2] Kabir, Z, Daly, S, Clarke, V, Keogan, S, and Clancy, L. (2013). Smoking Ban and Small-For-Gestational Age Births in Ireland. PLoS ONE, 8(3): e57441. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057441

[3] Brugha, R., Tully, N., Dicker, P., Shelley, E., Ward, M. and McGee, H. (2009) SLÁN 2007: Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland. Smoking Patterns in Ireland: Implications for policy and services, Department of Health and Children. Dublin: The Stationery Office. p.8. https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/slan_smokingreport.pdf. Accessed 24th October 2018.

[4] https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/tobaccocontrol/research/tracker-2017-update.pdf

[5] McCrory, C. & Layte, RJ. (2012). Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Smoking and Childhood Behavioural Problems: A Quasi-experimental Approach. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(8): pp. 1277-1288.

[6] Reynolds, CME, Egan, B, McKeating, A, Daly, N. Sheehan, SR and Turner, MJ. (2017). Five year trends in maternal smoking behaviour reported at the first prenatal appointment. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 186(4), pp. 971-979.