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INNCO Issues Retraction and Apology

Following an internal review, INNCO’s Governing Board has retracted an open letter from Charles Gardner to Michael Bloomberg published last week

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Following an internal review, INNCO’s Governing Board has retracted an open letter from Charles Gardner to Michael Bloomberg published last week. The letter harked back to one sent in 1988 from HIV/AIDS advocate and playwright Larry Kramer to then-NIAID Director Anthony Fauci and used words that were likely to cause offence.

INNCO (the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations) said: “Whilst well-meaning, and expressing the deep frustration felt by many consumers and advocates about the fierce opposition towards harm reduction instigated by many Bloomberg funded organisations, the Board is of the opinion that the overly aggressive tone and language expressed in this letter is inappropriate.

“It does not reflect INNCOs ethos, that the way to prevent billions more tobacco related deaths relies first and foremost upon a process of constructive dialogue and candid but polite communication.”

The letter, published last Tuesday 24 January 2023, was directed at billionaire Michael Bloomberg as a result of him funding a vocal opposition to vaping and tobacco harm reduction – something that has featured in many Planet of the Vapes News articles due to the continued use of misinformation targeted at smokers and legislators.

This month, experts Michael Pesko, Michael Cummings, Clifford Douglas, Jonathan Foulds, Thomas Miller, Nancy Rigotti and Kenneth Warner called on the America’s Surgeon General to combat harm reduction misinformation with the same vigour that he is doing for the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

INNCO itself issued a similar call to “Tell The Truth” at the start of the year.

The consumer group coordinates activities of advocacy organisations around the world.

INNCO continued: “The board wishes to express its sincerest regret if any of the comments contained in this letter have caused negative sentiment or tarnished the reputation and standards upheld by the INNCO organisation.

“INNCO represents the interests of over 100 million users of safer nicotine products worldwide, and of 1.4 billion users of toxic tobacco products who can benefit from harm reduction and find themselves excluded from the policymaking process.

“Towards this end, we remain committed to respectful dialogue, discussion and professional conduct not only with Mr. Bloomberg, but with all legitimate stakeholders.”


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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