The International Association on Smoking Control and Harm Reduction (SCOHRE)

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Background

The International Association on Smoking Control and Harm Reduction (SCOHRE) was founded in September 2020 at the 3rd Scientific Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction. SCOHRE has organised the subsequent Scientific Summits.1

The organisation’s website states that:

“SCOHRE is an International scientific Association of independent experts on Smoking Control & Harm Reduction, who seek an open and constructive dialogue to help come up with a new approach to smoking control policies.” 2

That dialogue includes tobacco companies, an approach which diverges from Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which seeks to protect public health policy from “commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”. There is an ongoing scientific and policy debate about the role of newer nicotine and tobacco products, and whether they can help reduce the harms of tobacco. See the page on harm reduction for more on this topic, including tobacco industry strategy.

The Scientific Summits were co-founded by Konstantinos Poulas and Dimitrios Kouretas.1 Poulas was a founding member of SCOHRE.3 As of October 2022, Poulas is the only SCOHRE founding member who is no longer listed as a member. 4 However he continues to take an active role in the Scientific Summits.156

Connections to the Tobacco Industry

SCOHRE states that it will receive “no funding, directly or indirectly from the tobacco industry.”3 Tobacco industry researchers have presented at the Scientific Summits and industry executives have taken part in panel discussions. See below for details.

On its website, SCOHRE lists the NOSMOKE institute at Patras Science Park as one of its Affiliate Societies/Partnerships.27 NOSMOKE is a grantee of the Philip Morris International funded Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW).

Tobacco Companies Involved in Scientific Summits

3rd Scientific Summit – September 2020

SCOHRE was formed during this summit. A number of tobacco industry employees from British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI) took part in panel discussions.8

4th Scientific Summit – September 2021

Organised by SCOHRE and featured a much larger contingent from the tobacco industry. Nine tobacco industry researchers presented their work at the Summit. Five of these researchers were employed at PMI, two at BAT and one at both JUUL Labs and Japan Tobacco International (JTI).9

A panel discussion on the ‘transformation of the tobacco industry: strategy, competition and ethics’ featured Gizelle Baker (PMI), Sharon Goodall (BAT), Ian Jones (JTI) and Joe Murillo (JUUL Labs).9

5th Scientific Summit – September 2022

Twenty-four tobacco industry researchers presented their work, nine of whom were employees at BAT, eight at PMI and seven at JUUL Labs.6

Four researchers connected to the Centre of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) also presented their research at the Summit.6 CoEHAR, founded by Riccardo Polosa, is one of multiple “Centres of Excellence” set up with funding from the Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW) as hubs for research on tobacco harm reduction. FSFW is wholly funded by PMI.6

Charles Gardner, the Executive Director of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO), an FSFW grantee, took part in a panel discussion on ‘THR challenges & prospect’.6

Promoted by PMI

In PMI’s Calendar

Notably the fourth and fifth Scientific Summits were listed on PMI’s conference calendar on its Research and Policy website.1011

Founding Members with Tobacco Industry links

Dr. Karl Fagerström, Consultant,12 has received consulting fees from Swedish Match (a manufacturer of snus and nicotine pouches) and other tobacco companies “to assist their development of less-risky tobacco products.”13 Fagerstrom founded Niconovum, a manufacturer of nicotine products, which was acquired by Reynolds American (now BAT).14 For more information see Tobacco Company Investments in Pharmaceutical & NRT Products.

Stanimir Hasardjiev, Director General of the Bulgarian National Patients Organisation (NPO).315 The NPO received BGN 147,760 from PMI between 2018 and 2019.16 The Bulgarian Coalition for a Smoke Free Life stated that a survey undertaken by Kantar on behalf of NPO in 2020 (on the perception and use of tobacco and related products) was part funded by PMI’s Bulgarian subsidiary, Philip Morris Bulgaria Ltd.16

Connections with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

The Foundation For a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) was launched in 2018 with multi-million dollar funding from Philip Morris International (PMI). It stated that it was independent of the tobacco company and would seek other revenue sources. However, PMI remains its sole funder and its many reports and grants have echoed industry arguments. There is no suggestion that anyone named below is a direct recipient of tobacco industry funds.

Konstantinos Poulas, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Patras, and a founding member of SCOHRE.173 Poulas set up the NOSMOKE institute at the Patras Science Park, a university start-up incubator, that has received $105,985 in grants from the PMI funded Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW).18 The institute develops e-cigarette products and shares tobacco industry research that promotes e-cigarettes. Poulas has also co-authored multiple academic papers funded by FSFW.19202122

David Sweanor and Karl Lund, founding members of the SCOHRE, contributed to Knowledge Action Change’s Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTR) report, ‘No Fire No Smoke’, published in 2018. The report was “supported solely by a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke Free-World”.23

For more information see Knowledge-Action-Change and FSFW.

Rajesh Sharan, another founding member of the SCOHRE, is one of three trustees of the P.N. Srivastava Foundation For Scientific Education & Research in Shillong, which was awarded a US$67,600 grant from FSFW in May 2018 for a “Detailed Project Development for Establishment of a Center of Excellence on Harm Reduction Science.”2425 For more information see Foundation for a Smoke-Free World Centres of Excellence.

The rest of the founding members are listed in this press release.

COP 9 Letter

Ahead of COP 9 in 2021, held virtually in Geneva, five SCOHRE founding members were among the signatories of an open letter calling on the WHO to change its stance on e-cigarettes and harm reduction strategies. The letter was also signed by several FSFW grantees.326

Relevant Links

TobaccoTactics Resources

References

  1. abcScientific Summit by SCOHRE, Past Events, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  2. abSCOHRE, About SCOHRE, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  3. abcdeScientific Summit by SCOHRE, Press Release: SCOHRE is founded to work for the benefit of smokers and for the better health for all, website, 30 November 2020, archived 19 October 2021, accessed September 2022
  4. Smoking Control and Harm Reduction, No. 0774630122, registration document, available from www.ejustice.just.fgov.be
  5. SCOHRE, Network, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  6. abcdeScientific Summit by SCOHRE, 5th Scientific Summit Final Programme & Abstract Book, website, 21 September 2022, accessed October 2022
  7. NOSMOKE, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  8. Scientific Summit by SCOHRE, 3rd Scientific Summit Final Programme, website, 24 September 2020, accessed October 2022
  9. abScientific Summit by SCOHRE, 4th Scientific Summit Final Programme, website, 29 September 2021, accessed October 2022
  10. PMI Science, No Smoke Summit (4th Scientific Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction: Novel products, Research & Policy), website, undated, accessed October 2022
  11. PMI Science, 5th Scientific Summit on Tobacco Harm Reduction 2022, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  12. K. Fagerstrom Consulting, Company number: 556523-0785, Open Corporates, undated, accessed October 2022
  13. S. Patwardhan, K. Fagerström. The New Nicotine Pouch Category: A Tobacco Harm Reduction Tool?Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2021;, ntab198, https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntab198. This reference was corrected on 22 November 2021 to make clear that it was Dr. Fagerstrom who had declared an association with Swedish Match.
  14. Niconovum, LinkedIn profile, accessed October 2022
  15. National Patients’ Organisation, Team, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  16. abCoalition for a Smoke Free Life, Toxic Dependence, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  17. University of Patras , Department of Pharmacy, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  18. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Form 990-PF, 2018 Tax Return, 13 May 2019, accessed May 2019
  19. M. Caruso, R. Emma, A.Distefano et al, Comparative assessment of electronic nicotine delivery systems aerosol and cigarette smoke on endothelial cell migration: The Replica Project, Drug Test and Analysis, 2022, 1(11), https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.3349
  20. M. Caruso, R. Emma, A.Distefano, Electronic nicotine delivery systems exhibit reduced bronchial epithelial cells toxicity compared to cigarette: the Replica Project, Scientific Reports, 2021, 11,(24182), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-03310-y
  21. G. Andrkopoulos, Z. Zagoriti, S. Topouzis, K. Poulas, Oxidative stress induced by electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS): Focus on respiratory system, Current Opinion on Toxicology, 13:81-89, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cotox.2018.09.002
  22. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, HST and Other Awarded Grants, website, May 2021, archived 9 July 2021, accessed October 2022
  23. Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction, No Fire, No Smoke: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2018, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  24. NGO Foundation, P.N. Srivastava Foundation for Scientific Education and Research Contact Number, Contact Details, website, undated, accessed October 2022
  25. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Form 990-PF, 2018 Tax Return, 13 May 2019, accessed May 2019
  26. SCOHRE, Letter from one hundred specialists in nicotine science, policy, and practice, website, 18 October 2021, accessed October 2022
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