Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the launch of a $20 million watchdog group to aggressively monitor deceptive tobacco industry tactics and practices that undermine public health.
The organization, Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP), will function as a global monitoring system that complements existing efforts to identify industry deception. To that end, the organization will deliver regular reports detailing tactics and strategies at both the global and country level and will provide tools and training materials designed to help public health ministries combat Big Tobacco's influence. The organization also will liaise with existing Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use partners to augment country-level grants that help nonprofits and governments push back against tobacco industry efforts. Findings will be publicly available and fully aligned with Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which outlines the prohibition of tobacco industry involvement in government policy making.
The organization will split its resources between robust monitoring and reporting and combating false narratives often created on the ground, and will use a competitive application process to determine lead organization(s) in the effort.
"STOP will commit itself to exposing this industry wherever it wields its considerable resources to influence government policy; whenever it distracts from proven interventions by promoting unproven alternative products as a solution; and whenever it gains access to the public debate using false and misleading science," said Kelly Henning, director of public health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. "We already have the tools to succeed today. We have made huge progress over the past two decades and we can continue to make massive inroads in reducing the ill health and suffering from tobacco use."