Tobacco industry accused of promoting E-cigarettes in the name of study

The organisations involved in the study are the Association for Community Empowerment Bangladesh, the Centre for Substance Use Research, and Enam Medical College

Published : 24 May 2023, 09:47 PM
Updated : 24 May 2023, 09:47 PM

With funds from multinational tobacco companies, some organisations are promoting e-cigarettes and vaping products in the name of research on smoking alternatives, anti-tobacco group Progga has alleged. 

The Association for Community Empowerment (ACE) Bangladesh, UK-based Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), and Enam Medical College are promoting a so-called research protocol on tobacco harm reduction among Bangladeshi diabetic patients, Progga said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The study is being financed by Foundation for Smoke-free World (FSFW), a Philip Morris International (PMI) sponsored front organisation, according to the statement.

“These organizations have conducted such campaigns before. With patronage from the tobacco industry, such a clever campaign has been launched at a time when the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has taken the initiative to amend the tobacco control law which, if passed, will ban E-cigarettes and vaping altogether.”

Progga said FSFW, founded in 2017 with funds provided by PMI, has already caused grave concern among public health and anti-tobacco activists. 

Following the Foundation’s inception, the World Health Organization released a statement where it argued that any involvement or cooperation with this Foundation poses a grave conflict of interest. 

“It is a matter of concern that the activity of this foundation is being noticed in Bangladesh for the past few years,” Progga said.

A number of countries, including India, have decided not to work with the FSFW on a government level to prevent its controversial activities. 

However, Bangladesh is yet to take any such measure on this issue. 

“As a signatory to the FCTC, Bangladesh should also not be involved with FSFW as per the suggestion of the WHO and provide necessary and clear directives in this regard. At the same time, all Bangladeshi organisations including ACE and Enam Medical College should also refrain from involving themselves with such an entity that is against public health,” Progga said.