Alarm bells are ringing after non-profit Bloomberg Philanthropies committed nearly half-a-billion in additional funding to global ‘tobacco control’.
Under most circumstances, news of a $420 million contribution to help combat global tobacco use would be cause for celebration.
But when the organisation signing the dotted line just happens to belong to one of the most prolific anti-vaping zealots in the world…it’s no surprise that some are holding their applause.
The substantial investment came from nonother than Bloomberg Philanthropies, which was founded by harm reduction big bad and ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
According to the non-profit, two thirds of the near half-a-billion total will go to ‘reducing tobacco use in low-and-middle income countries’, focusing on measures like smokefree zones and increased tax. The remaining $140 million has been earmarked for curtailing youth e-cigarette use in the states…a move that would alarmingly include supporting anti-vaping measures like flavour bans.
Leading advocacy group, the World Vapers’ Alliance, said this latest funding effort from Bloomberg shows the billionaire is ‘doubling down’ on his crusade against the reduced risk alternative.
It said that the non-profit – and the Alarm bells are ringing after non-profi t Bloomberg Philanthropies committed nearly half-a-billion in additional funding to global ‘tobacco control’. organisations it helps bankroll – have a history of ‘hostility’ against harm reduction and told people to ‘expect further antiscience misinformation campaigns’ moving forward.
WVA Director Michael Landl said: “The reality is that Bloomberg Philanthropies systematically ignores the wealth of evidence pointing to the benefi ts of vaping.
“Taking away less harmful alternatives from the most vulnerable, regardless of real-world outcomes, is outrageous…restricting or banning access to vaping will do nothing but cost lives.”
He added: “If Michael Bloomberg doesn’t change his approach soon, he will go down in history as the biggest stumbling block for ending smoking without realising it.”
Landl highlighted that the billionaire’s ‘network of charities and select groups’ already have ‘significant influence’ over world leaders, with his support guiding vape bans in Mexico and the Philippines.
However, it’s countries that ENDORSE the reduced risk product that see the greatest smoke-free success, with nations like the UK and New Zealand leading the fight against cigarettes.
The WVA boss said: “These countries do exactly the opposite of what Bloomberg wants and are on course to end smoking.
If Michael Bloomberg doesn’t change his approach soon, he will go down in history as the biggest stumbling block for ending smoking.
“Vaping has already saved millions of lives and should be embraced instead of fought.
“But this announcement shows Michael Bloomberg is doubling down on his ideologically driven fight against harm reduction…ignoring all the accompanying negative consequences of his policies.”
Echoing Landl’s concern, a chorus of industry voices have called out Bloomberg’s blatant anti-vaping agenda.
In a recent blog, Jim McDonald of Vaping360 said ‘virtually every’ proposed US fl avour ban over the past three years was funded as part of a $160 million anti-vape campaign from – you guessed it – Bloomberg.
He also highlighted that the billionaire has been known to make up ‘facts’ about smoking and vaping, going as far as to say nicotine lowers IQ test scores in teenagers.
McDonald wrote: “Bloomberg Philanthropies carefully cherry-picks supporting evidence for its preferred authoritarian solutions to smoking disease and death.
“It regularly conflates the known deadly harms of smoking with the much more benign – and mostly speculative – risks of vaping to gain public support.”
He added: “Bloomberg and his allied organisations believe the only way to reduce adolescent vaping experimentation in the US is to ban flavoured products…even if prohibiting vapes sends millions back to combustible tobacco.”
Another group waving the red flag after Bloomberg’s announcement was outspoken lobbyist group, the American Vapor Manufacturers. The AVM highlighted that youth vaping in the US is already on the decline, having dropped by 50 percent since 2019.
It also pointed to evidence that teen smoking is continuing to ‘decline towards zero’ and that policies targeting the reduced risk alternative typically increase cigarette use. In a recent Twitter thread the group commented:
“Critics have blasted Mike Bloomberg for his unethical anti-vaping activism. How has he responded?
“By dumping an extra $420 million into nicotine prohibition…he is sacrificing the lives of countless people on the altar of his megalomania.”
The AVM continued: “We agree with Bloomberg on one point; the conversation about vaping is critical because ‘many lives are at stake’.
“We only wish Mike weren’t putting them at risk by trying to ban the most effective quit smoking tool ever devised.”
The newly announced $420 million investment will be injected into the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and brings the non-profi t’s total tobacco control contributions since 2005 up to $1.58 billion.