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Bloomberg Attacks FSFW

The network of Bloomberg’s anti-vape organisations have leapt on the news that the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is to be taken to court

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The network of Bloomberg’s anti-vape organisations have leapt on the news that the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is to be taken to court. The case revolves around allegations of “improper coordination” between some tobacco companies and the Foundation by a bitter ex-employee. The smears continues in a Bloomberg publication and gets expanded to cover a number of leading harm reduction organisations and experts.

Lourdes Liz claims to be “an experienced marketing and communications director with expertise in social media and digital promotion”. She says she holds, “an MBA degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University”.

Liz alleges “The Foundation, over the course of more than a year, engaged in intimidation and retaliation against Ms. Liz in response to her repeated and steadfast objections to and complaints based on her reasonable belief that the Foundation, through its hand-in-glove coordination with companies seeking to promote vaping among teenagers, was violating its legal requirements and obligations as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization”.

She also alleges the Foundation took part, “in activities designed to increase the profits of and do the bidding of for-profit corporations in the tobacco industry,” naming Phillip Morris International and the Altria Group, Inc.

The lawsuit talks about emails and conversations linking the Foundation to “marketing” e-cigs to teens. Some have wondered on social media if the main point of the case is that Lourdes Liz is simply aggrieved at being pulled up at work. She says she, “was subjected to a sustained campaign of further retaliation, which included being systematically stripped of her duties and responsibilities, and being issued baseless performance warning and write-ups in order to create a paper trail to justify further adverse employment actions.”

Bloomberg’s organisations immediately leapt upon the lawsuit, repeating allegations as if they were facts [link]. The article cites people from The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Vital Strategies, and Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products.

Bloomberg Influence

  • The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids receives money from the Bloomberg Initiative
  • Vital Strategies receives funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) received $20 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Expose Tobacco is run by STOP
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies has contributed part of the $1.7M seed funding [link] for Hava Health’s Hale product [link] as an angel investor, via a consortium called The Network

Bloomberg News continued the assault on the FSFW’s reputation and added an ad-hominem attack on individual independent experts and consumer organisations. In the piece, the journalist smears Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), Roberto Sussman, Carmen Escrig, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO), Julie Woessner, ProVapeo Mexico, Medical Organizations Supporting Vaping and E-cigarettes, Konstantinos Farsalinos, the E-Cigarette Research Advocates Group, Marewa Glover, Michael McGrady, Knowledge-Action-Change, Filter Magazine, Ricardo Polosa and the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction.

It is a clear attempt to batter some of the reputations of leading figures in the world of tobacco harm reduction by throwing as much mud as possible and hoping some of it sticks while at the same time ignoring Bloomberg’s links with Hava Health’s Hale product.

A measure of the credibility that should be attributed to the Bloomberg operations outpourings can be gauged by their references: “Some scientists say … vaping could also make people more susceptible to infection in the first place. Dr Stanton Glantz, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said the cells that line the nose and upper airways are edged with microscopic hair-like tendrils called cilia that can push tiny viruses out.”

In 2018, leading harm reduction expert Clive Bates wrote about “the mob behaviour of tobacco control”. In it, he said:

  1. The FSFW is a good thing with sound and important objectives that are valuable to public health
  2. It has sufficient irreversible funding commitment and independence from the funder’s competing interests to do useful work that can be trusted
  3. That the criticism and position-taking of many in tobacco control was premature and an unthinking ugly reflex in advance of knowing the foundation’s financing system, legal structures and governance
  4. That it is unethical to prefer $1 billion allocated for public health research to be wasted and to work towards wasting it, rather than trying to make it work
  5. That the opposition is built on anti-corporate “tobacco warrior” mindset or dislike of anything that challenges an “abstinence-only” agenda that would be mocked in any other field of public health
  6. Its critics need to grow up and rethink


  • Foundation for a Smoke-Free World – [link]
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies – [link]
  • Foundation for a Smoke-Free World - the mob behaviour of tobacco control, Clive Bates – [link]
  • Lourdes Liz’ legal complaint – [link]
  • Philip Morris Money Is Funding Pro-Vaping Virus Spin, Bloomberg News – [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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