Decline delightful foreign overtures

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The poor are quite unfairly but generally considered easy prey, fair game.

Most of them are vulnerable to manipulation and control but only because they are desperate.

They just find “looking a gift horse in the mouth” too irresistible.

And who could blame them? With pork and other meat prices going through the roof, they could use Equus meat for a change.

Thus, puppet masters take wicked delight in using the old, tried, and tested carrot-and-stick routine to make them tick to a predetermined pace and direction.

The carrot is the basic, benign, and persuasive approach. It is the ore-preferred mode of achieving desired action because it has less complications.

The stick is only resorted to when there is clear and continuing resistance to established goals.

It is also employed only as a last resort because it is messy – leaving marks – clots and welts all over.

Anyway, as a general rule, people – whatever their stations in life – always op for the easy way out.

House of Cards’ Frank Underwood says it all: “You know what I like about people? They stack so well.”

But while some would rather sit in a corner and munch on their carrots, others can’t keep to themselves how deliciously succulent the stalks are. They blabber away their secrets and thereby expose themselves to public scorn and scrutiny.

Loose lips sink ships, but first they spread stink and downs the entire crew – which is exactly what happened to a state regulator.

Thus, harm reduction spearheads cautioned governments of low- and middle-income countries not to fall for the ruse of vested interest groups dangling money in exchange for policies that linits and even ban alternative nicotine products found to be much better options for smokers than cigarettes.

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates noted some public health experts have, in fact, raised concern over the activities of groups such as Bloomberg Philanthropies in offering grants or technical assistance to influence the formulation of policy and decisions of regulatory agencies on tobacco control, especially in LMICs.

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates is a regional alliance of consumer THR organizations. Its mission is to educate, advocate, and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.

CAPHRA executive coordinator Nzncy Loucas noted that some countries which direly need funds to implement effective public health programs are particularly vulnerable and often fall prey to the grant-for-policy scheme of these moneyed organizations.

“Government should keep away from such foreign special interest, grant-for-policy schemes which might compromise the rights of local consumers to choose better products for their health,” Loucas said.

She cited the Philippines where two congressmen filed a resolution calling for a legislative inquiry into reports that the local Food and Drug Administration received money from Bloomberg foundations in exchange for certain policies against non-combustible nicotine products, such as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

“It is all the more appalling that these foreign lobby groups use their financial power to push their ideological agenda around the world while completely ignoring the local needs and choice of people that are simply looking for better options than cigarettes,” the CAPHRA lady official said.

She said public health experts such as Dr. Roberto A. Sussman of the Institute of Nuclear Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico have been calling the attention of consumers and concerned groups to the overwhelming influence exerted by Bloomberg Philanthropies on nicotine policies in LMICs.

CAPHRA agreed with Sussman’s observation that among the structural reasons for Bloomberg’s efforts to concentrate on LMICs are their chronic lack of public health resources and personnel in health ministries “where all it needs for a policy to be enacted is to lobby and convince the head of government, or simply a sufficiently influential group of high-ranking health officials”.

Bloomberg has spent millions to ban e-cigarettes in many LMICs and denies the efficacy of THR on making smokers quit, according to CAPHRA.

Loucas said Bloomberg foundations and other groups erred in denying THR as a health strategy despite the thick volumes of solid scientific studies showing that smoke-free products such as e-cigs, heated tobacco products, and snus are substantially better options than combustible cigarettes.

She said in LMICs, the smoking rate remains high because of the limited access by consumers to THR products which are found effective in making smokers quit.

She also agreed with the statement of Dr. Alex Wodak, Board Director of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, that THR offers the best alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes in LMICs.

Loucas quoted Wodak as saying: “It is easier for THR opponents to influence policy in LMICs where healthcare systems are less robust, and there are higher smoking rates among younger populations.”

CAPHRA said consumers in LMICs would eventually pay for the cost of grant-for-policy schemes if authorities would allow the illegal practice to continue.

We encourage consumers to remind their governments to resist pressures from vested interest groups that are trying to influence local policy using money or grants, especially in developing nations which would deprive consumers of their rights to better health,” Loucas said.

Original article from Journal Online:

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