Michael Bloomberg’s long-standing anti-vaping campaign has been brought to light again by the American Vapor Manufacturers in a recent letter in response to a major cash infusion into nicotine prohibition.
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that an additional $420 million would be committed to reducing tobacco use globally in a press release on February 2, 2023.
Bloomberg is a billionaire philanthropist that has invested astronomical amounts of money to curb the use of nicotine vapes, without any willingness to accept them as a tool for smokers looking to quit more harmful cigarettes.
Alongside Matthew Myers, the president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, he announced a three-year campaign to end underage vaping in 2019. The campaign itself was funded by $160 million.
The campaign was titled Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes.
This latest announcement means that Bloomberg will continue to buy his way into creating vape legislation throughout the United States as he has done before.
Latest Cash Infusion
While Bloomberg has been on the radar for a long time regarding his questionable and unethical practices, this latest announcement has sparked near-outrage among the tobacco harm reduction and pro-vaping community.
According to Bloomberg’s very own press release, Bloomberg Philanthropies has contributed over $1.58 billion since 2005.
For those counting, this latest commitment represents almost a third of the total sum for the last two plus decades. This shows that despite a huge amount of backlash and criticism, they will not be slowing down in their fight against vapes, and subsequently tobacco harm reduction.
“This latest investment will help to spread strategies that have proven so effective at saving lives — including smoke-free laws and advertising restrictions — to more nations and communities around the world,” Bloomberg said in the press release.
While the message is good, the manner in which it is being executed has been hugely criticized for shunning vaping and pushing more people back to traditional cigarettes. This has been one of the primary reasons for so much backlash with everything that Bloomberg’s name has been attached to when it comes to vaping.
Countless Pleas to Stop
The crusade has resulted in a huge number of people calling for it to end. Interestingly and somewhat surprisingly, this has not only been from the typical opposition.
While it may not seem like it with increasing regulations and flavor bans, there are more and more medical professionals who champion the benefits of vaping as a means to reduce the amount of consumers being subject to the unforgiving harm profile of traditional cigarettes.
This was demonstrated when a group of tobacco science experts wrote to Bloomberg in 2021 urging him to relent. The letter was titled Tobacco control: the danger of doing more harm than good.
“We write as independent experts in tobacco science and policy, including several cited in a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy,” the letter opens with.
”The article, Bloomberg’s Millions Funded an Effective Campaign Against Vaping. Could It Do More Harm Than Good? by Marc Gunther raises several concerns about the overall impact of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investments in tobacco control, in particular the opposition to tobacco harm reduction as a public health strategy. We are aware of the response to the article, but we do not think this adequately addressed the concerns raised.”
The credibility of this letter was cemented when it concluded with four pages worth of signatures from some of the most respected scientists in the tobacco space, all of which signed to air their concerns with the groups actions.
The group’s actions have led even a founding board member of the Truth Initiative to criticize Bloomberg’s action as “way off base.”
Kenneth Warner, a University of Michigan scholar, found through a computer module that the benefits of vaping far outweigh the potential for harm. And yet, this kind of data is ignored by Bloomberg.
The AVM’s Response
The American Vapor Manufacturers’ response to the latest announcement highlights some of the key issues that have been cited in Bloomberg’s crusade.
“Despite his pretensions and self-aggrandizement, the tragic reality is that Michael Bloomberg is bankrolling a prohibition campaign that aims to stigmatize and outlaw the single most effective smoking cessation method ever devised, nicotine vaping,” the letter states in its opening.
AVM has studied and scrutinized Bloomberg’s actions for many years now, uncovering huge issues that many others are either missing or simply unwilling to acknowledge. The list of which is too extensive to convey here alone.
California Flavor Ban
Bloomberg’s anti-vape advocacy can be seen in far more places than just this campaign. The fairly recent flavor ban in California is one such example. For those questioning whether it really is an attack on vaping, these events prove that there are careless prohibitionist tactics at work that have been bought into legislation with huge sums of money.
Proposition 31 saw a statewide ballot to determine whether California would implement a flavor ban for a wide host of tobacco products, including vapes and e-cigarettes.
Not only was Bloomberg’s name plastered across the “yes” vote, his financial contributions were massive. All told, his donations totaled just over $46 million, which represented almost 96% of the entire contributions for the supporting party.
To very little surprise, the ban was upheld through the ballot, effectively granting Bloomberg his wish of a statewide flavor ban.
Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that a further sum of $420 million would be committed to fighting tobacco usage on February 2, 2023. This represents the continued damage that Bloomberg has been personally overseeing for the past two decades when it comes to reducing the potential for tobacco harm reduction through vaping.
The announcement has sparked another bout of critiques from harm reduction experts and vaping advocates alike due to the potential for harm that Bloomberg’s actions have orchestrated over the years.