And A Powerful New Organization Launched To Fight Big Tobacco Deception
He featured in the pro vaping documentary a Billion Lives and heads the Foundation for a Smoke Free World but Derek Yach a former executive director at WHO has been kept out of the latest world tobacco conference.
The fact the 17th World Conference on Tobacco Or Health [WCTH] is held in his home country of South Africa is another slap in the face for a man who has championed vaping as a smoking cessation tool for many years.
However it’s the fact he now heads up the Phillip Morris Inc funded smoke free world foundation that has meant many of his peers accusing him of ‘selling out’ to big tobacco.
The conference specifically states that no one with ties to big tobacco can attend and that means even if the purpose of the smoke free foundation is to eventually rid the world of smoking rules is rules!
The World Health Organization has already condemned the Foundation for a Smoke Free World as a big tobacco puppet adding:
PMI engages in large-scale lobbying and prolonged and expensive litigation against evidence-based tobacco control policies.
And in yet another blow to the fledgling foundation this week former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $20million donation to a new anti smoking organization – Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) – more on that in a moment.
But first more about the WCTH which is currently on day two of the three day event.
Big Tobacco Blatantly Targeting Poorer Countries
Day one saw a clear statement that despite platitudes towards a smoke free world Big Tobacco was still peddling their poisonous products in developing countries.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the conference:
The tobacco industry is targeting low- and middle-income countries – that’s why it’s so important that the conference is here
The focus must be on accelerating the WHO FCTC.
Now is the time for all countries to live up to their commitments and comply with their obligations.
Tobacco wrecks health and is a drain on economies and the environment.
It tears families apart. And it is entirely preventable.
Strong words that echo mine in the piece Marlboro Men Announce They Are Quitting Smoking and thoughts echoed by South Africa Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi:
Our continent of Africa is specifically being targeted by the tobacco industry.
The conference theme, uniting the world for a tobacco free generation is so appropriate here – we have a growing and youthful population.
The youth are special targets.
The main purpose of the tobacco industry is to maximise profits at the expense of often vulnerable people.
Our fight now is not just against tobacco, it’s a fight for humanity.
Strong words indeed.
I’ll keep an eye on the conference and if anything jumps out specifically around vaping I’ll get an article up.
Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products
The main thrust of this new organization is to tackle what it calls the tobacco industry’s ‘deception’.
And given its backed by billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg it’s an organization with both muscle and financial clout.
The main purpose of STOP will be:
STOP will function as a robust global monitoring system that complements existing efforts in identifying industry deception.
The watchdog will deliver regular reports detailing tactics and strategies both at global and country-level and will provide tools and training materials for countries to combat Big Tobacco’s influence.
Welcoming the creation of STOP Dr Tedros Adhanom said:
STOP is a warning call to Big Tobacco that they are on notice.
Bloomberg is quoted as saying:
Over the last decade tobacco control measures [such as sin taxes and advertising bans] have saved nearly 35 million lives‚ but as more cities and countries take action‚ the tobacco industry is pushing to find new users‚ particularly among young people.
It all sounds good however one thing that is of concern is Bloomberg’s belief that e-cigarettes and in particular those owned by Big Tobacco companies as well as Heat Not Burn products are a gateway to smoking.
And despite all the evidence to the contrary he doesn’t think there’s enough ‘science’ that proves e-cigarettes and vaping are a safer way to quit smoking:
Tobacco industry-funded research has repeatedly been a smokescreen for behaviour that has led to worse outcomes for smokers.
As I said last year the muddying of the waters by Big Tobacco muscling in on the e-cigarette market and more importantly the research has led to this state of affairs.
The more Big Tobacco gets a foothold in vaping the more they will become the face of vaping giving the anti vaping lobbyists more ammunition.
But hey Big Tobacco won’t care because as we’ve known all along with them it’s profits before anything else.
Confusing times indeed.