Facebook campaigns opposing anti-vaping laws prompt concern…


Organisations that don’t disclose their funders are operating astroturf campaigns which have spent over £60,000 on Fb adverts attacking proposed anti-vaping laws.

The professional-Brexit organisation International Britain is managing two campaigns – Save My Vape and Say No To WHO – as a part of its Smoke Free marketing campaign. It’s asking individuals to write down to MPs forward of a World Well being Organisation (WHO) convention subsequent week that would result in tighter regulation of the vaping business.

Astroturf refers to apparently grassroots teams which can be truly created and funded by companies, public relation corporations or teams with political pursuits.

The Save My Vape and Say No To WHO campaigns have prompted well being consultants to precise concern International Britain could have hyperlinks to the tobacco business.

International Britain says it’s “helping to put pressure on the UK Government to stand against the regressive guidance of the Chinese backed WHO”. 

Nearly 64,000 individuals die from smoking yearly. About 3.6 million, or seven per cent of adults in Britain, are thought to make use of e-cigarettes – however vaping stays a contentious concern.

International Britain is a non-public organisation concerned in political campaigns that claims it’s “committed to safeguarding the rights and interests of Britons on the international stage”. It doesn’t disclose how it’s funded although there isn’t a regulation or regulation requiring it to take action.

One in every of its administrators is Brian Monteith, a former Scottish Conservative and Brexit Celebration politician. The Ferret beforehand revealed Monteith was concerned with Fb campaigns concentrating on the SNP through the Scottish election marketing campaign in Might this 12 months.

Monteith is recognized by the Tobacco Techniques analysis unit at Tub College as a “a veteran campaigner against tobacco control policies”. He was Scottish spokesperson for the tobacco advocacy group Forest within the mid-Nineties.

Tobacco is the one most damaging shopper product available on the market. It’s deadly, addictive, and the business that produces and promotes it has a well-documented observe document of searching for to undermine proposed public well being measures which can be designed to avoid wasting lives.

Sheila Duffy, chief government of well being charity ASH Scotland


The Save My Vape Marketing campaign has spent £32,903 on 81 adverts because it was created in August 2021. It’s encouraging Fb customers to electronic mail their MP to oppose anti-vaping laws forward of the forthcoming COP9 convention hosted by the WHO. 

Save My Vape’s Fb web page states it’s a part of “Global Britain’s campaign to protect the UK’s vapers from planned restrictions and higher vaping taxes.” 

The web page has a hyperlink to each the International Britain “take action” web page and the Save My Vape web site, which has one web page in regards to the marketing campaign. The location has a piece the place customers can donate cash and electronic mail their MP, however it doesn’t state who’s managing or funding the marketing campaign.


The Fb web page for Say No To WHO was additionally created in August 2021 and has spent £31,777 on 35 adverts. The web page declares itself as a “political organisation” and says it’s a “campaign to protect vapers and reduced-risk smokers from the WHO’s authoritarian policies.”

This Fb web page hyperlinks to the Say No To WHO web site which has three blogs and a piece for emailing MP’s and donating cash. There isn’t any info on the location about who authored the blogs or is chargeable for operating and funding the marketing campaign. 


The Ferret also can reveal {that a} separate marketing campaign opposing vaping laws is being run by an organisation within the US referred to as Younger Voices. Younger Voices is a PR agency which helps pro-liberty writers. It’s an affiliate member of the Charles Koch Institute, a libertarian organisation run by oil billionaires questioning insurance policies on local weather change.

Younger Voices has spent £3,451 on adverts for its Proper To Vape marketing campaign. It was launched in August 2021 and has run 4 adverts at a value of £3,451. The Proper To Vape web site consists of three pages attacking WHO coverage on vaping alongside articles by authors affiliated to Younger Voices. 

The location has a hyperlink to a petition encouraging the British public to oppose potential UK laws limiting vaping. Its web site says: “Politicians in the UK and around the world are looking to expand the nanny state by introducing new taxes, regulations, restrictions and bans on what consumers can and can’t do. More specifically, nanny statistics have set their sights on vaping and other tobacco harm reduction products which provide a path to a smoke-free future.

“The World Health Organization spearheads the anti-harm  reduction campaign, ironically as part of its ‘Tobacco Free Initiatives’. The Right to Vape Project, supported by Young Voices, is pushing back against this growing lifestyle authoritarianism by calling out the WHO and those who sign up to its regressive agenda on public health policy.”

Younger Voices says it affords contributors the “opportunity to take a deep-dive on issues that they’re passionate about, aided by resources and mentorship we receive from our partner organizations”.  However there isn’t a indication as to who these associate organisations are, nor what assets or the character of the mentorship they supply.

Jason Reed is the Younger Voices head of PR and UK lead. The contact electronic mail for adverts run by Proper To Vape is similar as that given to contact Reed on the Younger Voices web site. He’s a former coverage fellow on the Shopper Alternative Centre, an organisation recognized by Tobacco Techniques as accepting donations from the Tobacco Trade. 

Younger Voices’ 2021 monetary report revealed a complete revenue of $624,000 from unidentified companies, foundations and people. However it doesn’t disclose its funders.

The Ferret requested Younger Voices who offers its funding however the organisation declined to offer particulars. A spokesman stated: “Young Voices fiercely defends our independence as an organization from outside influence. Per our Code of Ethics, the views expressed by our writers are theirs alone and are not drafted, edited, or reviewed by representatives of any corporate industry — tobacco or otherwise. Gold-standard studies cited by the NHS have shown that vaping products have been critical to helping smokers quit cigarettes. Simply put: vaping can save lives, and I am proud that our writers are unafraid to stand up for tobacco harm reduction.”


The goal of those campaigns is COP9, a convention of events signed as much as discussing tobacco management by way of the World Well being Organisation (WHO). Fifteen years in the past the WHO developed the Framework Conference on Tobacco Management (FCTC), to supply governments with pointers for lowering tobacco use. Since then representatives have convened each two years to debate methods through which the FCTC, or its implementation, is likely to be improved.

At COP9, the FCTC plans to formulate an motion plan in response to a WHO report in July 2021 on the potential dangerous results of vaping and its suggestions for tightened regulation of the vaping business. The pinnacle of the WHO said on the time: “Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”

A number of teams expressed concern over International Britain’s hyperlink to the tobacco business. Sheila Duffy, chief government of well being charity ASH Scotland, stated: “Tobacco is the single most damaging consumer product on the market. It is lethal, addictive, and the industry that produces and promotes it has a well-documented track record of seeking to undermine proposed public health measures that are designed to save lives. This interference is often covert – through paid-for groups and fake grass-roots opinion, incentivised influencers and slick PR campaigns. 

“Brian Monteith is a ‘well-kent face’ as a tobacco industry apologist. The tobacco industry is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We need to guard against and expose its malign influence if we are to protect Scotland’s aim to reduce tobacco use to minimal levels across all communities in Scotland by 2034 and prevent the industry from addicting new, young consumers.”

Younger Voices fiercely defends our independence as a corporation from outdoors affect. Per our Code of Ethics, the views expressed by our writers are theirs alone and usually are not drafted, edited, or reviewed by representatives of any company business — tobacco or in any other case

A spokesman for Younger Voices

Andrew Rowell, senior researcher with the Tobacco Management Analysis Group on the College of Tub, stated: “It is no surprise that many of the organisations or individuals pushing an anti-WHO message in the run up to COP 9 have a history of association and financial relationships with the tobacco industry”. 

He added: “The industry’s profit motive conflicts with WHO’s commitment to improve health. The focus of the COP – the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – contains measures that are proven to reduce tobacco use and commits governments to protect health policy from tobacco industry influence. 

“That’s bad for Big Tobacco’s business. It’s easier to identify that conflict of interest when the industry speaks out directly, so it often operates via front groups or even front groups of those front groups to push its message. This activity may be designed to appear organic, but it’s part of a familiar playbook used by the industry and its allies.”

Shona Hilton, professor in public well being coverage on the College of Glasgow, stated that resulting from lowered smoking charges, the standard cigarette market has been “squeezed”,  including “it is no surprise that the tobacco industry has broaden its portfolio of products to include e-cigarettes.”

She continued: However, as the tobacco industry merges into parts of the vaping industry we need to be alert and make sure we regulate the vaping industry so that the gains we have made for health in tobacco regulation are not undermined in any way.”

Final month it emerged that E-cigarettes could quickly be prescribed on the NHS to assist people who smoke give up below radical plans by ministers to slash smoking charges in England. The transfer might see England turn into the primary nation on this planet to prescribe medicinally licensed e-cigarettes. 

International Britain was requested to remark however didn’t reply. Commenting beforehand for a Ferret article about transparency over funding for political campaigns, Montieth stated: “Requiring publication of the details of every donation to small magazines and cultural outlets would be a disproportionate and onerous restriction on freedom of speech – and would create huge disincentives to the crowd-funding that many people use to provide modest financial support to their favourite worthwhile causes.”

Photograph Credit score: iStock/vchal

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