Day: September 7, 2022


Republished from Clivebates.com with the consent of the author

This section really reveals that WHO does very little other than publish prohibitionist propaganda. It is however worthwhile noting that its regrettable dependence on voluntary contributions leaves it exposed to major conflicts of interest. 

WHO does not pay attention to the evidence. If it did there would be much more discussion of trade-offs and possible benefits and a proportionate and more realistic approach to the risks. In fact, the report highlighted, the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, was “made possible” by the private foundation of the billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, who coincidentally figures prominently in the report despite the claim that it is independent. The report acknowledgements include several anti-vaping activists, some funded by Bloomberg, brought in to do the work.

The influence of anti-vaping outsiders on WHO’s finances. Bloomberg’s foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, campaigns for vaping prohibitions to the extent possible wherever it works via the work of its grantees. Take the major Bloomberg funding recipient, the Union, for example: and its prohibition policy, Why bans are best. Bloomberg’s approach to evidence and data on tobacco is discussed here: Michael Bloomberg loves data. Except when he doesn’t

WHO is conflicted by the funding it receives from pro-prohibition Bloomberg Philanthropies ($23m). Then there is also the much larger WHO donor, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($592m), which supports a range of organisations hostile to tobacco harm reduction. In addition, there are also pharmaceutical companies like GSK ($12.3m) that provide multi-million dollar donations to WHO but take a hostile stance toward e-cigarettes. 

Note that this money does not have to be spent on anti-vaping campaigns for the policy position of the donor and the donation to create a conflict. The point is that anti-vaping organisations play a significant role in WHO’s finances.

Written by Clive Bates

Thailand takes the dangerous path of denying harm reducing alternatives

Thailand’s Public Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said last week that the importation and production ban on vaping products will continue, depriving Thai smokers of provable alternatives to quit.

“Thailand’s failure to acknowledge the powerful benefits of harm reduction — specifically in vaping products and other nicotine alternatives — shows that they are letting down the 15.4 million Thai smokers,” said Tarmizi bin Anuwar, an associate at the Consumer Choice Center.

“There is a reason that countries such as Japan, and more recently the Phillippines have embraced these novel technologies, empowering their own people and giving them legal alternatives to save lives. The government must take an evidence-based policy approach in developing policy to ensure that the government does not do wrong actions,” he added.

“Every health ministry in the world is looking for solutions to reduce the use of combustible tobacco by their populations. While they continue searching, nicotine alternatives such as vaping have proven to be a gateway away from smoking and are now a key tool for harm reduction globally,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center.

“If the Thai government continues its prohibition on nicotine alternatives, they are depriving their citizens of other means of putting down the cigarette. This impacts every segment of society — young and old — and will have real health consequences.

“To demonstrate to the international community that Thailand is serious about this issue, they should empower their consumers and entrepreneurs to deliver the solutions that have already driven record-low smoking rates in other countries, by embracing and legalizing vaping products and nicotine alternatives,” said Ossowski.

“Otherwise, smokers will be forced to turn to illicit markets to find these products that are widely available outside the country, which will be harmful for society overall.”

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