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Consumer Responds to Tobacco Control

Vapolitique’s Philippe Poirson responds to being vilified by a recent study and the Bath Tobacco Control Research Group

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Philippe Poirson has written a strongly worded letter to the Tobacco Control journal regarding last week’s “vile” study. It looked at vapers’ Twitter posts and categorised them as being part of a tobacco industry campaign. The journal has chosen to ignore Philippe and not publish his response – but Planet of the Vapes is reproducing his submission here.

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

quit smoking.

“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


Smoking interference

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]

Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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