RightOn is Way Off

Posted 12th March 2021 by Dave Cross
Canadian independent advocacy group RightOnCanada was created to push for human rights to be considered as key components of Canadian legislation. Once focussed on asbestos and lead-containing paint, the body has turned its focus to fight against tobacco harm reduction products – denying the human rights of smokers to choose reduced harm in the process. It recently issued a letter attacking the independent Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW).

RightOn Canada’s Kathleen Ruff has been prolific recently on the subject of vaping and tobacco harm reduction. She has amassed a number of international signatures to a letter(1) demanding that the American Public Health Association (APHA) abides by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Convention requires that countries reject any engagement or collaboration with the tobacco industry or organizations funded by the tobacco industry,” it states.

We call on the American Public Health Association to join with the World Federation of Public Health Associations and leading public health organizations in the United States and around the world and support the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and reject any engagement or collaboration with the tobacco industry or organizations funded by the tobacco industry.”

What has pressed Ruff into such action?

According to her Wordpress blog(2), Ruff expresses her disgust at the “immoral tactic” used by Philip Morris International to grant funding to the FSFW, quoting the American Cancer Foundation saying: “This attempt by Philip Morris International to paint itself as a public health partner is manipulative and dangerous. It is a new twist out of the tobacco industry’s deadly playbook, but nobody should be fooled. It’s a continuation of a decades-long effort to paint over tobacco’s role in spreading death and misery around the globe.”

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What has the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World done?

It has promoted science and evidence. Rather than address facts, opponents of vaping and tobacco harm reduction are seeking to smear the Foundation with accusations it promotes Philip Morris products – and before you ask, no there isn’t a single example of the Foundation doing that.

Without any open discussion or transparency, it has adopted a policy to invite the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and the tobacco industry to participate in and influence discussions on public health policy and have their harmful deception published in APHA’s journal,” Ruff continues.

Ruff’s blog carries just one comment. Rabid anti-vape Dutch physician Wanda de Kanter, a woman clearly lacking vision when it comes to harm reduction, hails “the start of an endgame strategy” for the tobacco industry. Wanda struggles to comprehend the difference between smoking and vaping despite repeated efforts by advocates to educate her.

Is RightOn Canada’s Funding Is Open For Inspection?

One might expect that someone banging on about clandestine funding would be up front about her own. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

RightOnCanada.ca is an independent organization and does not receive government funding. The only funding it receives is from individual donors. It has purposefully not sought charitable tax status so that it is not restricted in its activism and lobbying activities.”(3)


By not registering for charitable status the financial statements aren’t accessible - unlike the Foundation’s. Also, it is telling that as Kathleen Ruff took to attacking tobacco harm reduction, she began to be echoed by the Tobacco Control Research Group, an organisation part-funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and others who orbit his universe of influence. Ruff’s project falls under part of the Rideau Institute, which limits description of its funding to: “Individual citizens|Foundations/Grants”.

What is clear, RightOn Canada isn’t right on tobacco harm reduction.


  1. Letter to APHA Executive Board members - https://rightoncanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Appeal-to-APHA-to-support-Framework-Convention-on-Tobacco-Control.pdf
  2. Over 130 public health organizations and experts challenge American Public Health Association - https://rightoncanada.ca/?p=4520
  3. RightOnCanada.ca - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RightOnCanada.ca
  4. Supporting Regulation of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems - https://www.apha.org/Policies-and-Advocacy/Public-Health-Policy-Statements/Policy-Database/2019/01/28/Supporting-Regulation-of-Electronic-Nicotine-Delivery-Systems

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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