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David meet Goliath - Grassroots Volunteers ready for battle

(Headline abbreviated, original headline: David meet Goliath - Grassroots Volunteer Advocates gear up for another battle.)

It comes as no surprise to AVCA that the ARFNZ “Don’t Get Sucked In” (DGSI) website, which launched today, confirmed our serious reservations on content when it was announced in November. AVCA offered to assist with the development of the website and materials, by providing their own educational materials, information and statistics on the programmes that they have implemented in the community since 2016, all to no avail. The DGSI site is filled with misinformation and half truths. Not much different to the ramblings of the journalists in their “commentary” and “opinion pieces” in our mainstream media.

The inherent bias towards pharmaceutical stop smoking protocols is evident in the demonisation of vape as a consumer product on the site. The declaration that there is a "youth vaping epidemic" that needs to be addressed (there isn't one in NZ). The timing of the ARFNZ campaign launch coincides with the contentious release by the World Health Organisation’s “Q&A on E Cigs” last month. This website promotes the same kind of misinformation and cherry picked science as the ARFNZ website.

Even the World Health Organisation is subject to this influence. Further investigations by AVCA (and others) have shown that half (10 million US of 22 million US inclusive) of the WHO FCTC funding for the 2020/21 budget period comes from the likes of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Gates Foundation. Both of whom also fund the anti tobacco and anti vape groups Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and CDC Foundation in the United States and are allegedly involved in angel investment schemes for pharmaceutical THR products.

All of the foregoing misinformation and promotion on websites being developed and promoted to appease funding sources. Money may buy a fancy website and air time in the New Zealand media but it certainly does not provide credibility, objectivity or pragmatism.

Facts do Matter and one can only hope that the facts about vaping will prevail over vested interests. Especially in the lead up to the opening of Parliament and the (hopefully) upcoming introduction of risk proportionate, pragmatic regulations on electronic cigarettes, nicotine e liquid and accessibility as a consumer product.

Knowledge is power, and the right knowledge, in the right hands, will save thousands of lives here in Aotearoa.


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