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Bloomberg Targets Tobacco, Supports Anti – Tobacco Campaign

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Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday gave a trio of anti-tobacco crusaders $20 million to up their game against an industry aggressively marketing its deadly wares worldwide, especially in developing countries.

The non-profit groups — based in France, England and Thailand — jointly secured the three-year grant to spotlight industry-led sabotage of policies designed to reduce tobacco use, Bloomberg said

I’m sympathetic,” he said by phone. “They want to promote their products and make money for their stockholders.”

“But it is killing people, and I have always thought there is a point at which there are things more valuable — more important — than just increasing the bottom line.”

The new initiative “will protect consumers by shining a light on the tobacco industry’s underhanded tactics, including marketing directly to children,” Bloomberg added.

The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath in Britain, staffed by academics and journalists, has long tracked tobacco industry efforts to influence public policy, publishing its findings since 2011 on tobaccotactics.org.

Big Tobacco’s tactics to expand markets have included suing governments seeking to implement plain packaging for cigarettes, sponsoring cultural events or sports teams, and challenging the legality of smoke-free zones.

The tobacco industry is a major obstacle in the global drive to stop people dying early from cancer and heart disease,” WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said of the plan.

“STOP will be a key partner in the effort to uncover and overcome these barriers to tobacco control.”

E-cigarettes, however, remain controversial given their claim to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

A study published Thursday in the medical journal Thorax, for example, reports that so-called vaping can damage vital immune system cells in the lungs.

“Many e-cigarette companies have been bought up by the tobacco giants and there’s certainly an agenda to portray e-cigarettes as safe,” said lead author David Thickett from the University of Birmingham in England.

 

 



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