Poirson is an ex-smoker who used vaping to escape from tobacco in 2014. He set up and runs the French language Vapolitique blog and has no financial link of interest to the tobacco industry. Like all vaping advocates, his motivation comes from a desire to spread understanding about alternative nicotine products and to promote tobacco harm reduction.
The recent Bloomberg/CRUK funded study [link] from researchers at the Bath Tobacco Control Research Group claimed: “Individuals and organisations with connections to Philip Morris International used Twitter to push pro-vaping messages.”
Philippe Poirson numbered among those being slurred by the study team in Tobacco Control. He replied as part of the rapid response feature, but the journal has not published the letter:
The toxic mobbing on my free speech about right to harm reduction behind this article
“This paper, based on some tweets, is immoral, erroneous and is an attempt to intimidate
volunteer activists for asserting the fundamental right to harm reduction. In the paper
researchers vilify at least 44 volunteer vaping advocates for their political opinions. These
volunteers and a tobacco company are baselessly lumped together. This is malicious and
unfounded. By misleading its readers, the paper is protecting the toxic economic interests
that interfered at FCTC COP 8 in October 2018.”
Political surveillance out of control
“I am directly affected because I was reported on by the Bath Tobacco Control Research
Group for no other reason than my political opinions. Two elements attest to this. First, I
found traces of electronic surveillance left by Ayush Joshi, co-author of this paper.
“Secondly, in an overview of his preliminary findings at the ECToH in Berlin on February 21,
Joshi falsely presented me as a member of a tobacco industry influence network. This pure
slander has damaged my reputation, particularly for my voluntary activities to help people
“I had alerted the Ethics Committee at the University of Bath, chaired by Prof. C. Eccleston,
to these serious deontological breaches and it is an aberration that the paper was still
“These serious violations are made even more worrying by Bath TCR’s links with GGTC, an
organisation based at a Thai university. Thailand is governed by a military dictatorship and
the Tobacco Authority of Thailand is a state-owned tobacco monopoly.
“Also deeply concerning is the American billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s $20m funding for
Bath TCR. Bloomberg’s business ties with India, the world’s second-largest tobacco
producer where the government owns 28% of the tobacco company ITC, are well known.
Bloomberg’s methods of censorship and harassment to privilege his business relationships
are also well known. However, Bloomberg’s own country has not ratified the FCTC4.
“Through crude amalgamation this article tries to hide the real interference from the major
tobacco nations at COP8, amongst them India and Thailand, who aggressively defended
their interests as tobacco producers and sellers against vaping there.
“Publishing a paper based on what is clearly out-of-control surveillance, intended to smear
citizens defending the right to protect their own personal integrity with harm reduction is
ethically vile. Politically, this paper sides with the tobacco industry, whose victims number
nearly one million in India and more than 80,000 in Thailand each year. Both countries have
banned vaping to protect their cigarette trade.”
- Vapolitique – [link]
- “Exploring the Twitter activity around the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 11 November 2020”, Robertson L, Joshi A, Legg T, et al. – [link]
- ‘Tobacco Authority of Thaïland is a state enterprise (...) TOAT is the only tobacco monopoly of cigarette manufacture and distribution’; one of its goals is ‘maintain and increase its market share’ explain the website of the company – [link]
- “Bloomberg News Killed Investigation, Fired Reporter, Then Sought To Silence His Wife” – [link]
- Article 1 (d) of the FCTC upholds the harm reduction principle – [link]
- French NGO observer : Ni transparence, ni réduction des risques au sommet anti-tabac de l’OMS – [link]
- Poirson: L’anti-vape Michèle Rivasi dirige un groupe de travail « informel » de deputes européens sur la TPD – [link]