Real face of Bloomberg and his Anti-Vape Supporters
Billionaire philanthropist Mike Bloomberg has been at the forefront of banning E-cigarettes and vapes. Especially influencing middle to lower income economies to pass regulations that either heavily limits electronic nicotine delivery systems or bans them completely.
In Bangladesh they are funding agencies like Progga, Shimantik and few others to push this agenda forward without any economic or scientific analysis of the products or the situation. Most studies on E-cigarettes show that yes, they are harmful, but they have 95% less toxicants compared to combustible cigarettes Public Health England maintains vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking | E-cigarettes | The Guardian so for people who are severely addicted to cigarettes this has been classified as a smoking cessation tool and it has been proven to be more effective compared to any other nicotine replacement therapy. They are so effective that consumers in Argentina Life as a Criminalized Vapes Dealer in Buenos Aires (filtermag.org), India and few other countries are importing them illegally which means that their Governments are losing out on earnings which could have been generated through taxes levied upon such products What is the case against e-cigarette company Juul, and did it promote ‘vaping’ among teens? | Explained News,The Indian Express. So, the question remains why Bloomberg is funding such campaigns?
Real incentive of Foreign Investors
An interesting fact about Bloomberg is that one of his investment interests can be linked with a smoking alternative tech company Hale. Bloomberg part of aventure capital kwon as Village Global which has its interests in Hale a smoking cessation tool which is currently still in its research phase. Heavy regulations of existing electronic delivery systems could decrease the competition when Hale is eventually launched. It is to be noted that Bill Gates the founder of Gates Foundation (A big funder of anti-vaping groups) is also an investor of Village Global. Bloomberg Flavour Ban Plan - A Conflict Of Interest? - Ecigclick
Foreign Meddling in National Policies is harmful
Every nation is different. Therefore, any policy made should be considerate of their situation and culture. The policy that worked for a country with 10% of the population smoking might not be effective in countries with 40% of the population smoking. Smoking behavior and consumer trends are also quite important while making such decisions. Implementing something based on what a foreign doner feels is not only unethical but also detrimental for the development of a nation.
Previously in Philippines, Bloomberg was accused of buying off the Food and Drug Administration to implement anti-science policies related to vaping. Bloomberg and his associates were under legal scrutiny for violating laws and discriminating against the legal tobacco industry. Reports also suggest that Bloomberg Philanthropies is also implementing similar practices in Vietnam, Romania and other LMCs. Bloomberg Exposed for Foreign Meddling in Tobacco and Vaping Policy in the Philippines - Americans for Tax Reform (atr.org)
Bangladesh is headed towards its National Election at the end of 2023, in such an atmosphere having foreign bodies that have no understanding of how the countries economy works and how people are struggling amidst a global recession should not be our advisors.
Shortsighted NGOs of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a country where more than 30% of population above 15 are smokingBangladesh Smoking Rate 2000-2023 | MacroTrends, drastic regulations and banning electronic alternatives would only mean they will either seek cheaper or illegal cigarettes which would further deteriorate the situation. The only loser in this situation would be the government as they would lose the internal revenue generated from the tobacco industry. Street sellers would lose their jobs and with the ongoing global economic crisis this could create massive unrest in the country. Understanding the gravity of the situation the 2040 tobacco free goal was set by our Honorable Prime Minister so that we can slowly phase out from the current situation i.e., reduce smoking steadily, create alternative employment for people in this sector and ensure quit smoking tools are available and accessible to people from all walks of life.
Anti-Tobacco Groups only consulting foreign entities and select few groups for which they are unable to realize the repercussions of the policies they are suggesting.
Studies that claim Vapes have high health risks are being retracted
Alongside research on how e-cigarettes are helping people reduce smoking, anti-vaping claims with unscientific foundation are being retracted. “Cancer Prevalence in E-Cigarette Users: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional NHANES Study” published in World Journal of Oncology (Aprominent research, referenced by anti-vape communities) has recently been retracted Retraction Notice to “Cancer Prevalence in E-Cigarette Users: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional NHANES Study” | Office | World Journal of Oncology (wjon.org) and prior to that in a study published in the Journal of American Heart Association which states vapes double the chance of heart attacks has also been found to be unreliable.Vaping study retracted: Scientists want probe of UCSF tobacco research (usatoday.com)
More studies are slowly emerging that show the benefits of vaping and real life case studies are emerging from countries like UK and New Zealand where electronic nicotine delivery systems are effectively being used as quit smoking tools.
Writer: Vice President of Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Traders Association (BENDSTA).