A young 22-year-old New Yorker had been hospitalized with COVID-19 last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had made it very clear that he believes that the young adult's vaping habit contributed largely to his serious COVID-19 symptoms. Having stated “We do think the fact that he is a vaper is affecting this situation.” The proposition that vaping and smoking can intensify the risks of a more severe COVID-19 symptom has made some groups start pushing back.
Their messages go against public-health experts’ warnings that smoking puts people at higher risk for severe symptoms of COVID-19 and that the effects of vaping are unknown but potentially harmful too. Many of these messages that contradict an association between serious COVID-19 symptoms and smoking or vaping are indirectly funded by the maker of Marlboros cigarettes, Philip Morris International, and vape company Juul.
Cigarette Company funding Anti-smoking Non-Profit?
When asked about the actions of the groups they funded indirectly through the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Philip Morris said that the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World can make their own decisions with the $160 million they gave the foundation in 2018-2019. Philip Morris international has said for years that they want smokers to stop smoking and transition to their electronic device, IQOS. The IQOS is a heat-not-burn device that has already been approved by the FDA. Altria Group Inc., Philip Morris’ parent company, also sells the IQOS and is Juul Labs. Inc largest investor, holding 35 percent minority stake.
How do you feel about big tobacco companies funding pro-vaping groups? Is there a conflict of interest? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Kary, T. (2020). Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 April 2020, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-17/philip-morris-money-is-funding-pro-vaping-coronavirus-spin