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FY 2021


You help expose Big Tobacco’s underhanded and racist tactics, bringing global leaders together

Our longest-running campaign, which has for decades set the precedent for the rest of our organizing, continues to advance innovative corporate accountability strategies. This year the tobacco industry persisted in its attempts to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to boost sales of vapes and heated tobacco products—but we and our allies powered a wave of momentum that is discrediting one of Philip Morris International’s primary front groups pushing this agenda. We also exposed Big Tobacco’s racist roots, and we brought together policymakers from around the world to help form a united front against the tobacco industry’s global abuses.

Your take:

“I’ve dedicated my life to advancing effective public health and tobacco control policies to save billions of lives. Keeping the tobacco industry out of policymaking is critical to this work, and Corporate Accountability has been a valuable, powerful civil society partner for decades. Our continuous collaboration to advance transparency provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and increase civil society’s voice in policymaking is helping to rein in the industry’s power and to hold it accountable.”

Dr. Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Secretariat, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 

“Corporate Accountability’s campaign to challenge Big Tobacco saves lives while continually setting essential precedents for long-term justice and equity. I’m thrilled to support the organization’s work as the campaign exposes the racist roots of the industry itself, challenges and shutters industry front groups, and advances liability internationally. Systemic organizing within the continually shifting landscape in which this deadly industry operates is a must.”

Kelle Louaillier, President Emeritus, Corporate Accountability


Feature story: Challenging misinformation spread by Big Tobacco-funded foundation

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is an entity entirely funded by none other than one of the most powerful tobacco corporations on the planet: Philip Morris International (PMI). Existing solely to advance Big Tobacco’s agenda, this entity is part of the industry’s strategies to advance junk science, spread misinformation, and employ front groups to influence policymaking. This year, we made powerful progress in curbing FSFW’s influence.

From the start of FSFW’s existence several years ago, we and our allies exposed it as a front group for PMI—and we have continued to challenge FSFW’s moves ever since. In April, The British Medical Journal published an article authored by us, Tobacco Control Research Group, and Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), which shed a powerful light on the front group’s tactics. The article features case studies that examine FSFW’s tactics of spreading misinformation and using junk science via academic journals — and our recommendations on what to do about it. Notably, in a classic Big Tobacco ploy to object to real science and attempt to silence the truth-tellers, several people associated with the foundation attempted to kill this article. They did not succeed.

This journal article is part of a wave of momentum discrediting FSFW, which you have helped make possible: The failing foundation is increasingly isolated from the WHO and other U.N. institutions that see through its smokescreen. Hard-hitting media that we’ve helped secure is exposing its abuses. And, FSFW is facing a lawsuit that could have major legal implications–and media coverage we helped inform is cited in this lawsuit.

All told, there is a growing call for public health organizations to completely reject any partnership with the tobacco industry—including FSFW. Together with our allies and partners like you, we will render this PMI front group, FSFW, completely ineffective in its attempts to grow Big Tobacco’s power. 

More impact:

Corporate Accountability co-hosted a virtual gathering tackling the racist roots of Big Tobacco. More than 100 people attended, including government officials and representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to learn about Big Tobacco’s historic and current tactics of targeting Black communities through racist marketing and advertising practices. Watch Tracy Brown, independent artivist and curator formerly with African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC)/Finishing the Fight begin her discussion on the racist visual culture associated with the tobacco industry. (The entire video is available here.)

In the lead up to the treaty meetings for the global tobacco treaty, we cohosted a cross-continental virtual meeting that brought together tobacco control champions from the Americas and Africa for the first time in more than two years. The event provided an opportunity for governments to strengthen their work to protect public health policymaking from industry interference, and to advance our objectives of keeping Big Tobacco out of treaty delegations. Watch Dr. Adriana Blanco, head of the Secretariat of the global tobacco treaty, discuss the ways the tobacco industry interferes in policymaking. (Entire webinar in English, French, and Spanish)

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You stand up to Big Food and Big Soda

We challenged corporations for influencing public health policy, fueling racial injustices, and marketing unhealthy products.

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