Chowdhery Sees The Positive

Posted 27th November 2020 by Dave Cross
Samrat Chowdhery, president of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO), spoke at the launch of “Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) 2020”, a publication released by UK-based public health agency Knowledge Action Change. Despite the influence being exerted by billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s cash, he sees a positive direction of travel in the global approach to vaping legislation.

INNCO is made up of 36 members and affiliate organisations, representing consumers from across six continents. Its core mission “is to support consumers of low-risk alternative nicotine products and their representative organisations so they can be active and engaged participants as primary stakeholders with their governments and public health officials.”

The launch of “Burning Issues” showed:

  • There are only nine safer nicotine product users for every 100 smokers globally
  • 98 million people are estimated to use safer nicotine products worldwide
  • 68 million of them are vapers
  • 20 million are heated tobacco product users
  • 10 million are smokeless product or snus users

Speaking at the virtual event, Chowdhery said that Bloomberg’s influence had warped the views of legislators and, “there is also an element of corruption aided by the Bloomberg NGOs, who are co-opting tobacco policy through the sheer force of money. The legislators in Philippines recently questioned the conflict of interest in their FDA receiving funds from these NGOs while pushing anti-vaping policy.”

An example of the warped messages Bloomberg creates were seen clearly when Dr Ranti Fayokun, National Capacity Scientist for the World Health Organization, presented to a Philippines senate hearing [link].

The situation there escalated recently when it was discovered that arms of Bloomberg’s anti-vape empire had been sending grants to the Philippines’ Food & Drug Administration to influence anti-vape and anti-heated tobacco product legislation.


The well-funded opposition, mainly coordinated by Bloomberg Initiative and The Union, aims to influence legislation in more than just one country.

Chowdhery added: “This is, of course, highly discriminatory, will increase health gaps between western and developing nations, and is a prime instance of the philanthrocapitalism kind of thinking that is highlighted in the GSTHR report.”

From restrictions on sales and flavours to increasing taxation, “we are seeing attempts to ban them in Baltic countries and the Bloomberg network is doing the same in Africa by spreading misinformation and overstating risks without any concern that they are affordable, less risky, and effective in helping smokers switch.”

The trouble with removing or restricting access to something the general public values and enjoys is that it doesn’t work. Inevitably, vapers turn to alternative sources of supply and black markets thrive.

We have seen this in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and now in India. Recently, South Africa reversed its tobacco ban during the COVID outbreak over concerns that the resultant black markets would be difficult to shake off.”

But, Chowdhery concluded, there is hope: “Since the last edition of the GSTHR report in 2018, four countries have banned THR alternatives while 22 nations from various regions of the world have either reversed bans or put in place formal regulations allowing their use. The tide is turning, and I hope this trend continues in years to come.”


  • INNCO – [link]
  • Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020 report – [link]
  • Knowledge Action Change – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
Eternal Vape