2021 Annual Report
Foundation For a Smoke-Free World
Guided By Seven Fundamental Values To Achieve Its Mission To End Smoking In This Generation
Executive VP, Chief Legal Officer
Executive VP, Operations and Finance, CFO
This year, more than ever, our values were at the heart of our work at the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. At the start of the year, we considered the significant public health challenges facing the world and focused on how we could effectively pursue our charitable mission amidst the ongoing global pandemic. It is estimated that more than a billion people will die from smoking this century. We know how urgent our task is, and our values helped ground us and direct our work forward.
Supporting Health and Science Research
The Foundation prioritized innovation in a variety of areas, including by funding Analytisch-biologisches Forschungslabor’s clinical trial to identify and assess biomarkers and/or biomarker patterns of exposure in various human body fluids to discern between nicotine product-use groups. The findings from this work were published by two journals, Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications and Separations.
We also funded a grant to the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction to conduct a large-scale study on electronic nicotine delivery systems. Working with international researchers from Italy, Greece, Oman, the USA, and Serbia, these researchers replicated three major international studies, testing them independently. Their findings were published in Nature Journal.
Transparency informs our approach to driving the transformation of tobacco companies for the benefit of public health. The Tobacco Transformation Index™ aims to accelerate the end of smoking by ranking the world’s 15 largest tobacco companies on their relative progress toward harm reduction. The evolution of the Index has included a series of new research and reports, while continuing to engage with stakeholders, which will lead up to the publication of the second Index in 2022.
We also funded the Patent Landscape Report, which analyzes the patent landscape of heated tobacco, nicotine vapor, and smokeless technologies; identifies significant gaps in access to such technologies; and notes the complete absence of these technologies in many low- and middle-income countries.
Diversifying the Agricultural Sector in Malawi
Exciting things are taking shape in Malawi, and much of it is happening through collaborations between the Foundation and its partners. In Malawi, the Foundation works with our affiliate, the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI), to help smallholder farmers innovate, diversify their incomes, and ease their heavy reliance on the declining tobacco sector. A key initiative from this collaboration was the Foundation’s grant to support the Centre for Agricultural Transformation, which in turn is supported by a consortium.
The Foundation also built capacity for agricultural diversity in Malawi through the ATI Fellowship and Scholarship Fund program. This program sent scholars to US-based universities to develop knowledge and expertise in agricultural sustainability, resource economics, and related areas. These scholars will return to Malawi to apply their knowledge and expertise.
A Foundation grant also contributed to the support of the MwAPATA Institute, an independent agricultural policy think tank, which published several research papers supporting strategy and policy level discussions within the Malawi Government and across civil society.
The Foundation’s employees, grantees, and partners continued to demonstrate the integrity we cherish as well as tremendous resiliency and commitment to mission. Despite the challenges imposed by the virtual world in which we continued to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our people found creative ways to come together as a community. Our employees are passionate about the work they do. They are motivated to help save lives and they always strive for excellence. We could not be more proud of or more grateful to the Foundation team.
We know that focusing only on today is not enough, so we also planned for the Foundation’s future. As we outlined in the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan, our roadmap for the next three years is defined by five goals that the Foundation will work toward achieving. To accomplish these goals, the Foundation will concentrate its grantmaking across six “smoke-free purposes” for which the Foundation was created.
The Foundation’s plans for 2022 affirm our commitment to funding research that is nonduplicative and novel and working with partners who support our values, including those who offer diverse perspectives. We issued a series of requests for proposals to complement the Strategic Plan. We intend to award grants to assess the role of tobacco harm reduction and related products in assisting smokers to quit, with an emphasis on underserved populations, the effects of regulatory policies on public health, and the effects of nicotine on human health. Additionally, the Foundation will receive the data from a global Doctors’ Poll of physicians in 12 countries. The findings are expected to aid in assessing the prevalent knowledge, attitudes, and practices among physicians regarding nicotine and tobacco product use, including the current type and levels of support and advice they offer (if any) to their patients who smoke.
Our innovations and hard work in 2021 paid off, and it was a year of great progress for the Foundation. We could not have achieved our success without our people and the collaboration with our partners, to whom we express our deepest gratitude. Nor could we have powered forward as an organization without the direction we derive from our core values. Now we are focused on continuing this positive momentum into 2022 and beyond so that we can achieve our mission and end smoking in this generation.
Heidi B. Goldstein, Interim Co-President, EVP, Chief Legal Officer
David Janazzo, Interim Co-President, EVP, Operations and Finance, Chief Financial Officer
Letter from our board chair
Smoking remains the world’s single most preventable cause of death worldwide. Yet, during the last two plus years, the world has been challenged by another pandemic, causing the public-health focus to be re-directed. There has never been a more important time for the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, whose mission it is to end smoking in this generation, to intensify our work.
The commitment made at the launch of our organization was to eliminate death and disease caused by smoking and toxic tobacco. This is a collaborative effort shared by many partners. If we succeed, we can ease levels of cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other serious illnesses that impacted tens of millions of people before March 2020. Now, smoking and toxic tobacco leave people more vulnerable to negative consequences from COVID-19. Our goal is to help create a healthier population and diversify tobacco-dependent economies by funding extensive research work aimed at helping smokers quit, transforming the tobacco industry, and supporting tobacco farmers as they seek alternative livelihoods.
In furtherance of our mission, during the last year, the Foundation completed the following activities:
– Provided grants to leading institutions such as the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction, Rose Research Center, Cornell University, the Centre for Health Research and Education, and Knowledge-Action-Change.
– Funded research to further health professionals’ understanding of COVID-19 and its relationship to smoking.
– Supported a project to shine a light on the tobacco industry’s lack of reduced-risk product investment in developing nations.
– Worked with leading professionals to encourage greater imagination and ambition from the industry and governments to prevent smoking-related deaths.
In 2022, we continue to build on this vital work with major projects, including a global Doctors’ Poll that will assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of physicians in 12 countries as these relate to tobacco and nicotine use; the 2022 Tobacco Transformation Index, which is scheduled for release this fall; and several key agricultural diversification projects in Malawi spearheaded by the Centre for Agricultural Transformation.
On a personal note, I am extremely proud and impressed by the work of every Foundation employee and the more than 100 international researchers whose work we support. The world has been through some turbulence during these last two years, but the Foundation and our research partners have shown resilience allowing us to accelerate the fight to end smoking.
The work enabled by Foundation grants is transformative. The success of this work in the years ahead will improve real-world health outcomes and contribute to saving lives.
Thank you for sharing our passion for the Foundation’s important work.
Promoting Change and Progress Through Three Key Areas of Commitment
The Foundation has made significant progress toward our goal to end smoking in this generation. This report showcases the impact of FSFW’s grantmaking in 2021 in our three areas of commitment.
Health and Science
The Foundation strives to advance global tobacco research to end smoking by making grants to fund non-duplicative and novel research associated with smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction (THR).
The Foundation’s grantmaking in Malawi, one of the world’s most tobacco-dependent economies, assists smallholder tobacco farmers to become less dependent on tobacco and achieve sustainable alternative livelihoods. The grantmaking that the Foundation engages in within Malawi is managed with the assistance of our local affiliate, the Agricultural Transformation Initiative.
Industry Transformation efforts focus on stimulating change within the global tobacco industry and nicotine ecosystem. Through the Tobacco Transformation Index™, the Foundation aims to accelerate the reduction of harm caused by tobacco use. Specifically, the Index evaluates 15 of the largest tobacco companies in the world on their relative progress, or lack thereof, toward harm reduction.