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In the tobacco control world, it’s hard to find a more controversial figure than Derek Yach. [...]I’ve often felt sceptical about the tobacco industry’s motives when it comes to harm reduction products. What, I wanted to know, was PMI’s motives in setting up the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World with the promise of a billion dollars in funding?

Derek pointed out that first, while a billion dollars sounds a lot, it’s modest compared to the billions PMI had poured into research into alternatives to cigarettes. Secondly, the foundation formed part of a strategy to move from heavily regulated combustible products to devices that will generate profits for the longer term: [...]