Philippines Delivers Blow to Anti-Vaping Lobby

Posted by Robert Taney on

Anti-Vapers Thwarted in Philippines

It has proven impossible for the independent vaping industry to compete with Bloomberg financed anti-vaping lobbyists and his usual cast of political allies. It is estimated that he has spent over 130 million to date.

Inadvertently they have aided the tobacco industry, whom materially benefit when flavored vapes are banned. The situation with vaping in the US is beginning to look like regulatory capture.

Regulatory capture is a form of corruption where lobbyists and industry stakeholders further their own agenda by dominating the regulatory agencies assigned to safeguard public interest.

This might seem to be business as usual in the US, but the government of the Philippines did not take kindly to this American import.

Vaping laws are being liberalized in the Philippines after investigators found that American lobbyists were writing their vaping policy.

 

Bloomberg Loses Control of Nicotine Policy in Philippines  

The effective coalition of anti-vaping organizations founded by Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates has finally been handed a defeat. As reported in the Manilla Bulletin last August, Bloomberg’s foundations attempted to seize control of the Philippine FDA through millions in grant money.

On January 20, 2022, The Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act (SB2239) passed the Philippine Senate by a 19-2 vote.  The public is scandalized that a single billionaire hijacked their country’s nicotine policy.

This law undoes all his hard work to deny adults access to nicotine vapes. The vaping age is going back down to 18. At Kure, we support every US law including tobacco-21 but the desire for a total reset is reasonable. The Philippine FDA, which had received millions in grants from Bloomberg has lost control over the country’s vaping policies. Vaping will still be regulated, just not at the behest and whims of a single man. They are starting over with a clean slate.

 

Bloomberg Scandal

The scandal hit the papers in August 2021. A consumer rights group established links between local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and American billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Multiple grants totaling millions were received by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). The expectation was that these groups would lobby tirelessly for his vape prohibition agenda. They clearly succeeded at buying influence and the Philippines had implemented some of the harshest vaping prohibitionist laws in the world. 

“The CAPHRA paper revealed that Bloomberg also gave millions to local NGOs led by the Health Justice Philippines (at least eight grants since 2010); Action for Economic Reforms (at least six grants since 2011); Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Alliance Philippines (at least 10 grants since 2009); Action On Smoking & Health Philippines (at least two grants since 2017); the Philippine Legislators’ Committee On Population And Development (at least two grants since 2018); Social Watch Philippines (three grants since 2018); and New Vois Association of the Philippines (at least five grants since 2014).”

 

Influence of Anti-Vapers in US

This should look familiar to anyone who has tracked the course of vaping regulations in the US. With the media in his pocket, he has had little difficulty painting anyone who supports adult access to vaping flavors as a peddler of vapes to children and a shill of big tobacco. 

 A compliant CDC failed to prompt clear vaping of blame in a 2019 outbreak of lung disease. This disease, dubbed EVALI was tied entirely to black market THC cartridges. Similar chicanery includes a debunked heart attack study which garnered headlines. This January, anti-vaping politicians citing the 2018 Youth Tobacco Survey in 2022 to defend a move to classify synthetic nicotine as tobacco product. This survey was chosen because the last three CDC Youth Tobacco Surveys show a marked decline in underage vaping that undermines their calls for prohibition and banning the flavors that adult vapers prefer. 

Vaping Politics

Unlike our own Senators, Governors, Representatives and sadly most voters, Filipino politicians have opted not to show due deference to the strong opinions of an elderly man of great wealth and privilege.

They are opposed to a single individual dictating national health policy with his checkbook. His efforts at banning vaping threatened to funnel up to one million Filipino vapers back onto combustible cigarettes.

Nothing occurring in the Philippines is in any way different than the US, apart from the fact Bloomberg and Gates are least residents of the US.  Philippine House Bill SB 2239 rolls back the laws passed at the behest of these anti-vaping groups.

 

Pharmaceutical Investments

The authors of the CAPHRA expose pointed out that despite the focus on vaping there was no corresponding effort to ban smoking. But they did find a link between Bloomberg and the pharmaceutical industry. The products they sell are the nicotine replacement therapy gums and patches that got smashed by vaping in a smoking cessation study conducted in the UK.

“The billionaires are tied to the charities, the charities are tied to the pharmaceuticals, and the pharmaceuticals are tied to the billionaires. Most alarmingly, they don’t reveal these ties as money changes hands and their talking points are unwittingly parroted out of the mouths of government officials” 

“The corruption and conflicts of interest are blatant. For example, big pharma is using their charitable organizations to attack vaping while marketing their own smoking cessation products,” Virgino said.

 

Conflicts of Interest

“Dismissing compelling international scientific evidence, they’re applying bullying tactics to unduly influence sovereign nations’ public health policies,” said Clarisse Yvette P. Virgino, the Philippine CAPHRA representative.

Total abstinence as a strategy to reduce risky but consensual adult behaviors will get you laughed out of the room in most liberal social circles. It certainly isn’t applied to alcohol, a vice the wealthy embrace at a higher rate than any other economic group.

Alcohol kills 3500 minors annually and sends 130,000 to the emergency room according to the CDC. With few wealthy Americans vaping, they have shown no qualms about destroying an industry they do not understand. Their consciences are clean and they remain intentionally ignorant of a looming public health crisis they could be manufacturing with their misguided crusade. Nor do they seem self-aware enough to identify how the tobacco industry benefits from their zealotry. 

The inevitable smoking crater their policies could create should be evident to anyone paying attention. Cigarette sales were up for the first time twenty years in 2021.


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