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The World Vapers’ Alliance has been on the receiving end of criticism due to alleged funding and direction from a tobacco company

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The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) has been on the receiving end of a number of knocks recently due to its alleged funding. The WVA says it is a pro-vaping group fighting for consumers, but voices within advocacy circles have become increasingly critical due to alleged funding and involvement from British American Tobacco.

Previously, the World Vapers’ Alliance has been covered in Planet of the Vapes pieces for its Back Vaping Beat Smoking campaign, the Vape Bus tour of European cities, and its involvement in World Vape Day. Planet of the Vapes received negative comments about promoting World Vapers’ Alliance activities from another international consumer organisation but no reference was made to the alleged funding.

Following an announcement that an Italian consumer group had joined the World Vapers’ Alliance as a member, Planet of the Vapes notes that no other European group has followed suit.

Recently, The Daily Beast carried a comprehensive article, starting with who supports the consumer organisation: “while the WVA provides a list of … partners, one key name is missing: the world’s largest tobacco company.”

Over the years, the Planet of the Vapes forum has frequently seen strong negative feelings from vapers towards the tobacco industry.

The Daily Beast says it has seen documents and received information from sources that confirms, “British American Tobacco has played a central and hands-on role in orchestrating, directing, and funding the World Vapers’ Alliance”.

To do so,” the article continues, “the company teamed up with its European public affairs firm and a U.S.-based ‘dark money’ non-profit with financial roots in the murky world of right-wing billionaires. And they have all gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the company’s involvement under wraps.”

Although the World Vapers’ Alliance has yet to issue a response, one has come from one of its supporters, the Consumer Choice Center – whose website The Daily Beast says potential donors were sent to, although donations are now handled on the World Vapers’ Alliance site.

The Consumer Choice Center says: “A new year means new allegations by so-called journalists that can’t live with the fact that the CCC fights for consumers and is transparent about its work and supporters.”

The Consumer Choice Center claims:

  • The CCC has no “Secret backers”!
  • The CCC operates with full independence from its donors!
  • Anonymous claims from disgruntled former subcontractors are not facts!
  • The CCC launched the WVA to fight for vapers!
  • The CCC is tax compliant and independent!

Vaping 360 is forthright in calling The World Vapers’ Alliance an “astroturf group” – “the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant” [link] – and says vapers’ dislike and distrust of British American Tobacco is because of it and Reynolds American Inc.’s actions “to eliminate the competition posed by independent vaping businesses beloved by many vapers.”

It is past time that individuals and organisations claiming to speak for consumers, who are either secretly funded with money from the tobacco industry or billionaires like Charles Koch, are open and honest about such links.


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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