Bloomberg Philanthropies has just announced it will be putting $420 million towards reducing tobacco use globally, sadly focusing on outdated anti-smoking policies that do not work.
Given the agency’s hostility against tobacco harm reduction products, vape advocates sadly expect further anti-science misinformation campaigns against harm reduction, explains a press release by the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA).
“The reality is that Bloomberg Philanthropies systematically ignore the wealth of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of vaping, not to mention the first-hand experience of millions of vapers. Vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and a more effective method to quit smoking than traditional therapies such as gum and patches. Restricting or banning access to vaping will do nothing but cost lives,” said WVA director Michael Landl.
“This announcement shows Michael Bloomberg is doubling down on his ideologically driven fight against harm-reduction and vaping in particular – ignoring all accompanying negative consequences of his policies,” added Landl.
Bloomberg’s grants exposed
In 2020, two Philippine members of the House of Representatives were forced to suspend public consultations on vaping and heated tobacco products, after the local FDA, was forced to admit that it had received a grant from the Union and Bloomberg Initiative.
“The Union co-manages the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use Grants Program, which awards funds to projects delivering high-impact tobacco control interventions in low- and middle-income countries,” said Rep. Estrellita Suansing during a virtual consultations’ session, which took place on October 8th.
In the following months, concerns were raised as to the extent to which such grants and/or technical assistance are being offered in return for policy amendments. In line with countless health and policy experts, Prof. David Sweanor, advisory committee chair of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law and Policy in Canada, has recently said that naturally the Bloomberg donation to the Philippines FDA would have influenced the agency’s independent judgment.
“It is essential that regulatory bodies have the trust of the public. Accepting foreign funding from sources with a vested interest in compromising the FDA’s independence can rapidly destroy that trust. In this case, the money ultimately comes from a US entity with an abstinence-only agenda on low-risk alternatives to cigarettes,” said Sweanor.