Participants in the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) Good COP/Bad COP event in Panama lamented the influence of U.S. billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg over tobacco control policies.
“Michael Bloomberg is spending money to reduce consumer choice…He thinks he’s this big philanthropist, that he’s helping kids, helping adults—he’s not,” said TPA President Davd Williams. “By limiting these products, he’s not helping anyone but himself and his own ego.”
The Bloomberg-backed and funded Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) has nearly 40 representatives in the provisional attendees listing while Bloomberg-created Vital Strategies has nearly 20 representatives present.
According to the TPA, CTFK takes Bloomberg funding to spread misinformation and myths to pressure international agencies to implement draconian regulations on tobacco harm reduction products while Vital Strategies supports bans on the sales of flavored harm reduction products across the world.
“Bloomberg’s billions and groups may have TPA’s Good COP outnumbered and outspent, but the science and facts are on our side,” the TPA wrote in a press note.
On Feb. 7, participants in the Good COP/Bad COP panels focused on the science, consumers, and policy of tobacco harm reduction. Experts discussed struggles unique to low and middle income countries in embracing harm reduction, misinformation, along with Bloomberg’s influence.