Anti-Smoking Group With Tobacco Ties

Research money from a tobacco industry-funded anti-smoking foundation will not be accepted by 17 public health schools at universities in the U.S. and Canada.

The deans of the public health schools at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other universities said Thursday that the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is too closely tied to the tobacco industry, the Associated Press reported.

The foundation was created in September with nearly $1 billion from the Philip Morris tobacco company.

"The idea of taking money that's from the tobacco industry is just antithetical to everything we do," said Karen Emmons, dean for academic affairs at Harvard's public health school, the AP reported. "Philip Morris in particular has focused very hard to undermine the strategies that we know will reduce smoking rates."

If Philip Morris wants to end smoking, it should stop selling and advertising cigarettes, according to a statement signed by the deans at the public health schools.

"Further, both the tobacco industry and Philip Morris International have a long history of funding 'research' in ways meant to purposely confuse the public and advance their own interests," according to the statement.

Officials at Philip Morris declined to comment on the issue. Derek Yach, president of the foundation, said the deans' stance is "disappointing, and a loss for smokers," the AP reported.

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