Harm Reduction Campaign

New Smoking Pandemic Lurking As FDA Prepares Its Decision On E-Cigarettes

Today, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce its historical decision on the fate of e-cigarettes in the United States. As a result of a review of millions of applications made by big and small e-cigarettes makers around the country, the agency will either recognize vaping products as “appropriate for the protection of public health”, or ban them from the market. Despite unequivocal evidence proving the safety of e-cigarettes, the odds are not in favor of e-cigarettes, especially when it comes to smaller companies.

E-cigarettes were actually invented to help smokers quit, and have been enormously successful in doing so. Since 2013, when vaping became popular in the United Kingdom, the adult smoking rate there has plummeted. In fact, in the UK, the smoking rate is at itslowest since 1974. The popularity of vape flavors among adults is one of the reasons smokers have switched to vaping. Vapers that use flavors are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.

Although not complete, the FDA market authorization review process has shown bias against flavored e-cigarettes. On August 26, the FDA denied 55,000 flavored e-cigarette products market access for failing to “provide evidence that they appropriately protect public health” despite the clear body of evidence that e-cigarettes do improve the health of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes. Instead of acknowledging this evidence, the FDA pivoted instead to the illegal use of e-cigarettes by those under 21 years old, saying “flavored tobacco products are very appealing to young people” and hence require close examination. Such reasoning doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and only hurts adult consumers who seek to switch.

A recent study by the Consumer Choice Center and World Vapers’ Alliance found that if the US was to put in place vape flavor bans, over 7.7 million vapers would go back to smoking. If the main goal behind the market authorization review process is to protect public health and prevent smoking-induced diseases, then e-cigarette flavor bans—which are popular with smokers seeking harm-reducing alternatives—are the wrong way forward. 

Second, the application process has been unnecessarily bureaucratic and costly. The FDA itself estimated that building and submitting a market authorization application will take an average of 1,713 hours to compile and could cost several million dollars per product. For smaller vape companies, that is a heavyweight to bear. 

Speaking to POLITICO, Dave Morris, the owner of Phoenix, Arizona-based Vape Gravy Brands, said that his company has spent nearly every penny to apply for market approval of his products. Many of the applications that have been submitted to the FDA have been issued “refuse to accept” or“refuse to file” notices as their applications were deemed incomplete, or as failing to meet technical requirements.

Small vape shops are essential to driving down smoking rates. A study published by BMC Health found that “vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice.” Therefore, preserving small vape shops is critical to reduce smoking.

Due to a high volume of applications, it seems likely that the FDA will postpone its decision further. However, the predictions are far from optimistic. The United States, a land of innovation and entrepreneurship, is set to crush a technology that—unlike taxes and various other tobacco restrictions—has helped millions of smokers quit. Many developing countries will follow America’s lead, so the fate of vaping globally is at stake. In the end, in pursuit of public health protection, the FDA will bring about a new smoking pandemic. Haven’t we had enough of pandemics?

Originally published here

Flavoured vape e-liquids help smokers to quit smoking

A recent paper by Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) and the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) has concluded that vapers risk returning to smoking traditional cigarettes if they do not have access to flavoured vape e-liquids.

The paper titled Why Flavours Matter cited a five-year US study involving 17,000 Americans. It found that adults who used flavoured vaping products were 2.3 times more likely to quit traditional cigarettes compared with those who consumed tobacco-flavoured vaping products.

Read the full article here

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Both the EU Beating Cancer Plan and Dutch vape flavour ban – expected to enter into force on 1 July 2022 – fail to see the important role vaping plays in helping smokers quit.

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Such an approach doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and does nothing to reduce the smoking rates and beat cancer. The longer Europe continues to ignore an emerging plethora of studies on vaping and its lifesaving properties, the more lives will be lost.

Nearly 700,000 Europeans die every year as a result of smoking-induced cancer. Unless the EU recognises the benefits of vaping, these numbers will likely persist, depriving future generations of tobacco-free saved years of life. Anti-vaping policies are anti-human rights because they knowingly endanger the lives of smokers by limiting their access to an effective harm reduction tool.

Read the full article here

Pentingnya Informasi yang Lengkap Terkait Vape bagi Masyarakat

Rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal juga dengan istilah vape, saat ini merupakan produk yang tidak bisa dipisahkan dari kehidupan sehari-hari bagi jutaan masyarakat di Indonesia. Kita, khususnya yang tinggal di wilayah urban, dapat dengan mudah menemukan berbagai orang yang menggunakan produk rokok elektronik tersebut di berbagai tempat

Bagi sebagian orang, vape menyediakan berbagai pengalaman berbeda yang tidak bisa didapatkan dari mengkonsumsi rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Beberapa diantaranya adalah banyaknya pilihan rasa yang disediakan oleh berbagai produk vape yang dijual di pasar.

Tetapi, tidak semua pihak menyambut baik fenomena semakin populernya berbagai produk vape tersebut di masyarakat. Tidak sedikit sebagian kalangan yang menganggap hal tersebut adalah sesuatu yang sangat negatif, dan harus segera ditangani. Tidak jarang juga, orang yang menganggap justru rokok elektronik dianggap sebagai produk yang jauh lebih berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Padahal, berdasarkan penelitian, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Berdasarkan laporan dari lembaga kesehatan publik Inggris, Public Health England (PHE) tahun 2015 misalnya, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (gov.uk, 19/8/2015).

Berdasarkan American Lung Association, rokok konvensional yang dibakar misalnya, mengandung lebih dari 7.000 zat kimia, di mana 69 diantaranya merupakan zat berbahaya yang dapat menyebabkan kanker (lung.org, 20/8/2019). Sementara itu, terkait dengan rokok elektornik atau vape, dua bahan utama yang terkandung dalam cairan vape tersebut terdiri dari propylene glycol (PG) dan vegetable glycerin (VG) yang sudah dinyatakan aman oleh berbagai lembaga regulator, salah satunya adalah lembaga regulator Amerika Serikat, Food and Drugs Administration (24/10/2019).

Informasi ini tentu merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk diketahui oleh publik sebagai konsumen. Bila terdapat informasi yang terbuka mengenai hal tersebut, maka konsumen dalam hal ini memiliki kesempatan untuk memilih produk yang jauh lebih untuk mereka konsumsi.

Hal ini pula yang diungkapkan oleh organisasi pegiat hak konsumen vape di Indonesia, Asosiasi Konsumen Vape Indonesia (AKVINDO). AKVINDO menyatakan bahwa, saat ini masyarakat belum memiliki akses terhadap informasi mengenai vape atau rokok elektronik yang memadai, sehingga banyak menerima misinformasi dan kekeliruan (merdeka.com, 19/4/2021).

Pandangan yang sama juga diutarakan oleh Aliansi Vaper Indonesia (AVI). Menurut AVI, konsumen memiliki hak sebagaimana yang diatur dalam aturan perlindungan konsumen, diantaranya adalah mengenai akses terhadap informasi produk yang digunakan. Hal ini tentu termasuk juga para konsumen produk-produk vape atau rokok elektronik (vapemagz.co.id, 20/3/2021).

Informasi yang lengkap bagi konsumen agar mereka bisa memilih pilihan yang terbaik bagi diri mereka merupakan hal yang sangat penting, khususnya untuk para konsumen produk-produk yang sangat membahayakan kesehatan seperti rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Terlebih lagi, Indonesia merupakan salah satu negara dengan jumlah populasi perokok tertinggi di dunia. Pada tahun 2021, jumlah perokok aktif di Indonesia diestimasi sebesar 65,7 juta jiwa (jpnn.com, 29/4/2021).

Angka yang sangat tinggi ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat mengkhawatirkan. Mengajak seseorang untuk berhenti merokok bukanlah hal yang semudah membalikkan telapak tangan, karena rokok merupakan salah satu produk yang mengandung zat adiktif yang dapat menimbulkan kecanduan.

Oleh karena itu, bila konsumen di Indonesia, khususnya mereka yang menjadi para perokok aktif, bisa mendapatkan informasi yang sesuai dan lengkap mengenai produk alternatif tembakau lainnya, seperti rokok elektronik, diharapkan setidaknya mereka bisa mempertimbangkan pilihan yang lebih baik. Bila para konsumen mendapatkan informasi yang lengkap mengenai bahaya rokok konvensional yang dibakar, dan bahwa produk rokok elektronik jauh lebih aman daripada rokok konvensional, tidak mustahil sebagian besar dari mereka akan berpindah ke produk yang lebih aman.

Originally published here

Smoking bans don’t work – nor will cracking down on vape and cigarette sales

The World Health Organisation’s ‘Tobacco Free Initiative’ aims to speed up the gradual transition to a smoke-free world.

And yet, for some reason, it is also opposed to vaping, the safe alternative to smoking which is the best tool we have for helping people quit cigarettes.

It is clear, then, that the WHO doesn’t actually care about making us healthier. In reality, it just wants to accumulate more political control and centralise power over health policy.

Read the full article here

Why the WHO is wrong about vaping

The health institution’s anti-vaping approach set out in its latest report on the global tobacco pandemic is scientifically unjustified and will cost lives.

Last week, the World Health Organisation published yet another report which spreads fake news and false myths about vaping.  Despite the tool being recognised as 95 percent less harmful than conventional smoking, the WHO’s scientifically unjustified vaping witch-hunt could cost millions of lives.

Among the worn-out and debunked theories peddled by the WHO report ‘on the global tobacco epidemic 2021: New and Emerging Products’ is the so-called gateway effect theory, which suggests that vaping leads to smoking. This dangerous and misleading theory has long since been disproven by numerous studies, as well as nationwide case studies, such as in England where upwards of 50,000 smokers are using vapes as a gateway out of (not into) smoking every year.

“Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.”

Vaping has also proven to be more effective than other quitting tools. A 2019 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was twice as effective as nicotine-replacement products in helping smokers quit. Vape flavours – continuously demonised by the WHO – have also shown to be crucial in helping smokers quit. Vapers that use flavours are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes.

Besides being riddled with biased anti-vaping scaremongering and false claims, the entire direction of travel set out in the latest WHO report is nonsensical. Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.

They clearly find it more important to fall into line with the narrow-minded ‘quit or die’ approach trumpeted by the WHO’s billionaire sponsors, like Mike Bloomberg. The reality is that if the world follows the WHO’s lead, fewer smokers will quit and more will die as a consequence.

The WHO systematically ignores the wealth of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of vaping, not to mention the first-hand experience of millions of vapers. Unfortunately, this anti-vaping approach has spill over effects to other jurisdictions – especially to low- and middle-income countries, but also the European Union.

For example, both Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and a vape flavour ban in the Netherlands mirror the WHO recommendations – and are extremely dangerous for that reason. In 2007, nearly a quarter of the Dutch population smoked daily. That number went down to 16 percent in 2018 and continues to drop. However, with the new Dutch vape flavour ban in place, this positive trend might quickly reverse. According to newly published research by the Consumer Choice Center, the ban will drive over 250 thousand adults back to smoking.

“The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.”

The same is true for the EU Beating Cancer plan. Smoking-induced cancer claims nearly 700,000 lives each year in the EU. But instead of fostering life-saving innovation, the EU has opened the door to flavour bans and tax increases which would deprive millions of smokers of the opportunity to stop smoking once and for all. The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.

Restricting or banning access to vaping will do nothing but cost lives, and the WHO and the EU – both as a bloc and at member state levels – will soon learn this painful lesson if they keep ignoring science and consumers. 

Originally published here

BESTECHUNG GEGEN VAPING: LEAKS ÜBER DIE BLOOMBERG-FINANZIERTE “CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS”

Den Menschen in Deutschland ist der Milliardär Michael Bloomberg vor allem als ehemaliger Bürgermeister von New York City bekannt, der eine Menge Geld für eine unglückliche Präsidentschaftskandidatur verpulvert hat.

Aber auf der ganzen Welt hat sein Netzwerk von Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen und Interessensgruppen, die er mit Millionen von Dollar an Zuschüssen versorgt, eine Art Privatregierung errichtet. Diese nimmt Einfluss auf Regierungschefs, finanziert Gehälter von Beamten des öffentlichen Gesundheitswesens und schreibt sogar Gesetzentwürfe, die dann in die gesetzgebenden Prozesse rund um die Welt eingebracht werden – einschließlich des jüngsten Verbotes von E-Zigaretten in Mexiko und auf den Philippinen.

Einige dieser Organisationen werden direkt von Bloomberg geleitet und kontrolliert, darunter Bloomberg Philanthropies. Aber die meisten sind verschiedene Kampagnengruppen, die sich auf die Finanzierung und Führung durch den New Yorker Milliardär im Hintergrund stützen. Sie konzentrieren sich in der Regel auf Umwelt- und Bildungsthemen und sind besonders im Bereich der öffentlichen Gesundheit und Tabakkontrolle aktiv.

Laut dem neuesten Artikel von Michelle Minton vom „Competitive Enterprise Institute“, die interne Dokumente der von Bloomberg finanzierten Organisation „Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids“ (CTFK) in die Hände bekam, geht der schädliche Einfluss der Kampagnen, die insbesondere Entwicklungsländer fokussieren, weit über Standardmaßnahmen zur Kontrolle des Tabakkonsums wie Steuern, Altersbeschränkungen und Werbebeschränkungen hinaus.

Einflussnahme auf klamme Regierungen

Es werden direkte Zahlungen an Regierungsstellen und Beamte des öffentlichen Gesundheitswesens angeboten, die im Gegenzug die CTFK-Wunschliste von Gesetzen umsetzen. Da Entwicklungsländer weniger für öffentliche Gesundheitsmaßnahmen und -programme ausgeben können als Industrienationen, wird ausländischen NGOs im Austausch für Millionen von Dollar immenser Einfluss gewährt.

Anstelle von demokratisch legitimierten Maßnahmen zur Raucherentwöhnung, verabschieden diese Nationen Gesetze im Tausch gegen Zuschüsse von Bloomberg-Organisationen. Zuschüsse, die oft viel größer sind als die Budgets der Ministerien. In anderen Zusammenhängen würde man dies zu Recht als Bestechung bezeichnen.

Entsprechend der fast 700 Millionen Dollar, die Michael Bloombergs Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen weltweit ausgegeben haben, um ihre Forderungen in Gesetze umzuwandeln, hat der lange Arm der globalen Anti-Tabak-Bewegung bereits einige Erfolge zu verzeichnen.

Die Dokumente zeigen die Bemühungen der Aktivisten von CTFK, verschiedene Tabakkontroll- und Anti-Vaping-Maßnahmen in Ländern wie Brasilien, China und Nigeria zu verabschieden, einschließlich der “finanziellen Unterstützung” von Ministerien und Regierungsstellen.

Nicht nur Regierungsbeamte und Gesundheitseinrichtungen, sondern auch Universitäten und Medieninstitutionen werden mit exorbitanten Summen unterstützt, um die Kernbotschaften und Ziele der CTFK zu verbreiten, wie die Dokumente zeigen.

Die Nebelwand

Anstatt für allgemeine Maßnahmen zur Eindämmung des Tabakkonsums einzutreten, konzentriert sich ein großer Teil der CTFK-Kampagnen auf das Verbot oder die starke Einschränkung neuer Technologien wie Vaping, und dies insbesondere in Entwicklungsländern wie Indien, den Philippinen, China, Brasilien, Peru, Uruguay, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenia und anderen.

Im Gegensatz zu ihrer Mission, Kinder vom Tabak wegzubekommen, haben die mit Bloomberg verbundenen Organisationen stattdessen ihren Einfluss genutzt, um innovative und neuartige Technologien wie das Vapen, das nichts mit Tabak zu tun hat und nachgewiesen weniger schädlich als Rauchen ist, ins Visier zu nehmen.

Organisationen wie „Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids“ haben den Kampf gegen das Rauchen als Vorwand benutzt, um alle weniger schädlichen Alternativen zum Rauchen zu eliminieren oder stark einzuschränken –  einschließlich E-Zigaretten, Heat-not-burn-Geräte, Nikotinbeutel und ähnliches.

In Anbetracht des nachgewiesenen Potentials zur Raucherentwöhnung, sollten die Hunderte von Millionen Dollar, die ausgegeben werden, um die Verbreitung dieser Alternativen in Entwicklungsländern mit hohen Raucherquoten zu untergraben, ein Skandal epischen Ausmaßes darstellen.

Aber leider werden diese Schlagzeilen kaum beachtet. Stattdessen werden zahlreiche Maßnahmen umgesetzt, die die Konsumentenfreiheit und den Zugang zu Alternativen einschränken, ohne viel Rücksicht auf die öffentliche Gesundheit.

Öffentliche Gesundheit effektiv verbessern

Was diese Enthüllungen besonders erschreckend macht, ist das Fehlen jeglicher Nuancen. Fraglich ist ja gerade, ob innovative neue E-Zigaretten und ähnliche tabaklose Alternativen als Tabakprodukte angesehen werden sollten. Zum Beispiel behauptet die Framework Convention on Tobacco Control der Weltgesundheitsorganisation, dass es keine Unterschiede gäbe.

Aber das ist falsch. Immer mehr akademische Studien und Regierungsberichte zeigen, dass Vaping zu 95% weniger schädlich ist als Rauchen.

Die Tatsache, dass Millionen von Menschen durch den Konsum von E-Zigaretten mit dem Rauchen aufhören konnten, sollte Beweis genug dafür sein, wie der Markt Lösungen im Sinne der öffentlichen Gesundheit liefern kann. Und sie sollte auch zeigen, dass man Entwicklungsländern nicht Knüppel zwischen die Beine werfen und ihnen die reale Möglichkeit verwehren sollte, das Leben von Millionen ihrer Bürger zu verbessern und zu retten.

Aber wie Minton vom „Competitive Enterprise Institute“ feststellt, “scheint die Strategie von CTFK und der breiteren von Bloomberg finanzierten Anti-Tabak-Bewegung darauf abzuzielen, politischen Einfluss zu nehmen und Gesetze zu verabschieden, ohne Rücksicht darauf, ob sie zu einer tatsächlichen Verringerung des Rauchens oder einer Verbesserung der Gesundheit führen.”

Wenn dies das Gesicht der modernen Anti-Tabak-Bewegung ist, dann wissen wir, dass die öffentliche Gesundheit nicht ihr wahres Ziel ist.

Originally published here

More Effective E-Cig Regulations Could Save Approximately 200 Million Lives

A recent study of 61 countries and their e-cigarette regulations, has indicated that setting place more effective vape regulations could save the lives of almost 200 million people.

recent study conducted by The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) together with the Consumer Choice Center, examined 61 countries and their subsequent e-cig regulations. The research team used the UK’s progressive tobacco harm reduction policies, which endorse the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation as a reference point. Then they analysed how many current smokers would be encouraged to switch in each of the other countries, if they had access to such a permissive framework.

After compiling data from these countries, the research team concluded that with a regulatory regime which facilitates and encourages e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking, 196 million of current smokers in those countries could switch to vaping.

Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl, said that this data indicates just how great the potential of e-cigarettes is for public health. “While the benefits of vaping as an alternative to smoking have been known for some time, today’s research shows just how significant the potential is: almost 200 million lives saved. If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that our health is paramount and regulators that want people to quit smoking need to be led by science and ensure that ideology takes a back seat to pragmatism.”

The results speak for themselves

Infact in the UK, approximately 25% fewer people smoke today than they did in 2013 when vaping became popular, and the nation is even boasting the lowest smoking rates recorded since cigarettes came on the scene. France, Canada and New Zealand whose approach is more similar to the UK, are also seeing positive results. On the other hand, Australia, one of the countries with the toughest vaping regulations, has witnessed only a mere 8% decline during the same period.

“Smart rules on advertising e-cigarettes to smokers, displaying e-cigarettes at the point of sale for cigarettes, lower rates of taxation for e-cigarettes, and public health bodies endorsing the evidence of vaping being at least 95% less harmful than traditional smoking, everything that the UK has done right, can help save the lives of thousands of smokers by helping them switch to vaping,” said Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, said about the report.

The PHE’s latest report on vaping

In the UK, Public Health England (PHE) is renowned for recommending switching from smoking to vaping, and  progressive frameworks for vaping have been introduced accordingly. Carried out by researchers at the renowned King’s College London, the organization’s seventh independent report on vaping in England, was commended by tobacco harm reduction experts.

The report highlighted the following points:

  • “Vaping is the most popular aid (27.2%) used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020
  • More than 50,000 smokers stopped smoking in 2017 with the aid of vaping
  • 38% of smokers believed that vaping is as harmful as smoking while 15% believed that vaping is more harmful”

Originally published here.

Don’t ban flavoured vapes

Banning flavours for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco is a huge mistake, one that could have deadly consequences

Earlier this month Ottawa submitted new regulations for vaping products to the Canada Gazette. It wants to ban all vape flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol.

The rationale behind the ban is that limiting flavours will curb youth access to vaping products. Vapes, of course, should never be in the hands of minors. Their main value is to offer adult smokers substantially reduced risk for consuming nicotine — a 95 per cent reduction according to Public Health England. That reality is why vaping works as a means to quit smoking, something which has been reaffirmed by many peer-reviewed articles. A 2017 study from the University of California using U.S. Census data found that vaping had contributed to a “significant” increase in smoking cessation and as a result it recommended positive public health communications on vaping.

Other national public health agencies have seen the value of vaping as a smoking cessation tool and shifted their approach. Ireland, for example, has started actively promoting vape products to adult smokers trying to quit, while New Zealand has launched an interactive online tool explaining the value of switching to vaping from smoking.

Our federal government, however, is ignoring what is working abroad and is rejecting its usual governing principle of harm reduction. Curbing youth access to vape products is very important but banning flavours for adult smokers trying to quit tobacco is a huge mistake, one that could have deadly consequences. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians use vape products, most of them smokers trying to quit. Research on consumer purchasing patterns shows that 650,000 of those vape users currently rely on flavours that would be prohibited if the ban goes through.

If Ottawa does gets its ban, many of those targeted by it are likely to return to smoking, and that is something no one should be celebrating. This isn’t just a hypothesis on what may happen; it’s what has happened in jurisdictions that have sought to limit access to flavours.

South of the border, a nationally representative longitudinal study of over 17,000 Americans showed that adults who used flavoured vaping products were 2.3 times more likely to quit smoking cigarettes when compared to vapers who consumed tobacco-flavoured vaping products. Its authors, Abigail S. Friedman and SiQing Xu, both health policy researchers at Yale University, concluded that: “Although proponents of flavour bans have claimed that tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes are adequate to help individuals who smoke, these results call for evidence to support that claim before it is acted on.”

San Francisco provides yet another example where banning flavoured vaping products directly correlated with a spike in smoking rates. In a single-authored study, Abigail S. Friedman concluded that the ban on flavoured products doubled the odds that those under the legal age of purchase had smoked recently. The ban, passed to curb youth access to vaping, ultimately ended up shifting minors to cigarettes, which is a public health failure by any measure.

In fact, the economic evaluation of the ban, in the federal government’s own submission, openly admits that a ban on flavours will cause a return to smoking: “They (vapers) would choose to purchase more cigarettes, hence offsetting the loss” retailers will incur as a result of eliminating flavoured vape products.

The link between vaping flavours and quitting smoking is intuitive. Smokers trying to quit are more likely to enjoy a flavoured vape product than something that tastes exactly like the product they are desperately trying to quit using. Regulators here in Canada must know that this is exactly what will happen and yet are pushing onward regardless.

The federal Liberals have steadfastly, even stubbornly, championed harm reduction when it comes to illicit drugs — which makes their stance on vaping all the more incomprehensible. Their approach to illicit substances is the right approach given that it ultimately saves lives, and they should let those same harm reduction principles guide vaping policy. In fact, harm reduction should guide all drug policy, whether those drugs are legal or not.

Originally published here.

Leaked: Bloomberg-funded ‘Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids’ Global Strategy to Ban Vaping Products By Bribing Public Bodies

To people in the United States, billionaire Michael Bloomberg is most well-known as a swashbuckling former New York City mayor who blew a lot of money on an ill-fated presidential primary run.

But around the world, his network of charities and selected groups he provides with millions of dollars in grants are, for all intents and purposes, a sort of private government who influence government leaders, fund the entire salaries of public health officials, and write legislation that is then introduced into legislative bodies, including the recent example of vaping bans in Mexico and the Phillippines.

Some of these organizations are those directly chaired and controlled by Bloomberg, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, but most are various campaign groups that rely heavily on funding and guidance from the New York City billionaire, including those focused on the environment, education, public health, and general tobacco control.

According to the latest article from Michelle Minton at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was able to get her hands on internal documents from the Bloomberg-funded Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids organization, the pernicious impact of the campaigns to target developing countries goes much beyond standard tobacco-control measures such as taxes, age-gating, and advertising restrictions.

Influence and Cash-Strapped Governments

Instead, there are direct payments offered to government bodies and public health officials that implement the CTFK wish-list of legislation. Because developing nations spend less on public health measures and programs than developed nations, foreign NGOs that seek specific policy measures in exchange for millions of dollars in public funding are granted immense influence.

As such, rather than actual domestic democratic demand for measures against tobacco and vaping products, including all-out bans on vaping flavors and technology, these nations pass laws in direct exchange for grants, often much larger than their own domestic department budgets. In other contexts, this would rightly be defined as bribery.

Considering Michael Bloomberg’s charities have spent nearly $700 million globally to hurry these measures into law, the long arm of the global anti-tobacco advocacy movement has already chalked up several success stories.

In government, CTFK and its partners engage in lobbying, like most other advocacy organizations, but CTFK’s strategy for influencing tobacco policy really hinges on establishing itself as an indispensable resource for regulators and lawmakers. For example, the CTFK plan lists myriad examples of support it has provided to government entities, such as assisting in lawsuits against the tobacco industry in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya. In Panama, it notes “collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Panama who is interested in financing a regional effort” for tobacco litigation.

Michelle Minton, Exposed: Bloomberg’s Anti-Tobacco Meddling in Developing Countries

The documents outline the efforts of campaigners from CTFK to pass various tobacco control and anti-vaping measures in countries such as Brazil, China, and Nigeria, including “financial support” to ministries and government offices.

More than just government officials and health bodies, exorbitant funding is also made available to universities and media institutions, documents show, to amplify the core messages and aims of CTFK.

The Smokescreen

Rather than advocating for general tobacco control measures, a good portion of CTFK’s campaigns has focused on banning or severely restrict harm reducing technologies such as vaping, especially in developing countries such as India, the Phillippines, China, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and more.

Diverting from their mission of truly “tobacco-free kids,” Bloomberg’s connected organizations have instead used their influence to zero in on innovative and novel technological vaping products that deliver aerosolized nicotine and have nothing to do with tobacco.

Instead, organizations like Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have used powerful rhetoric on the need to eliminate smoking as a literal smokescreen for eliminating or severely restricting all non-combustible nicotine alternatives, including vaping devices, heat-not-burn devices, nicotine pouches, and more.

Considering the demonstrated health potentials that come with endorsing nicotine-delivery alternatives as a means to quit smoking, as is recommended by relative health ministries in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to undermine these efforts in developing countries with relatively high smoking rates should be a scandal of epic proportions.

But, alas, those headlines are far from prominent. Instead, we have multiple policy victories that restrict consumer choice and access to alternatives without much regard for actual public health.

Achieving True Public Health

What makes these revelations most startling is that there is no room for nuance on whether innovative new vaping devices and other alternatives, which do not contain tobacco, should be considered tobacco products. Organizations such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an organ of the World Health Organization, say they are no different.

But they’re wrong. The growing compendium of academic studies and government reports demonstrating that vaping is 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco speaks to that.

The fact that millions of people have been able to quit smoking by using nicotine vaping devices should be a testament enough to how the market can deliver solutions for public health, not to use a cudgel to hamstring and deny developing nations the real opportunity they have to improve and save the lives of millions of their citizens.

But as noted by Minton at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “the strategy of CTFK and the wider Bloomberg-funded anti-tobacco effort appears aimed at winning policy battles and passing laws with little consideration of whether they result in actual reductions in smoking or improvements in health.”

If this is the face of the modern tobacco control movement, then we know that public health is not actually their goal.

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