Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Happy new year, readers! A little late, but it’s still January.

I’d intended to post links to all my writings here in a timely fashion, but as John Lennon sang, ​​life is what happens to you when you are busing making other plans. So here goes.

LSD Chemist Leonard Pickard, Free at Last was my first story of 2022. I heard the 76-year-old Pickard speak at Horizons, a conference about psychedelic drugs, and was moved by his story. A brilliant, Ivy League-educated victim of the drug wars, Pickard spent 20 years in federal prison after being convicted of making large quantities of LSD. 

I then turned my attention back to e-cigarettes. I can’t let go of this important story because so much coverage of vaping (to the extent that there is any coverage at all) is lazy or ill-informed. Worse, the relentless campaigns against teen vaping from groups like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Truth Initiative perversely make it harder for adult smokers to switch from lethal combustible cigarettes to vapes, which are far less dangerous.

The CDC’s EVALI Screwup looks at the misnaming of a lung disease that was caused, not by legal e-cigarettes, but by illicit THC products. The CDC erred in calling the disease EVALI, which stands for “E-cigarette or Vaping use-Associated Lung Injury,” and it has refused to correct the error. This is awful, again, because it will discourage smokers from quitting and turning to e-cigs for the nicotine hits they want or need.

Then, back on the philanthropy beat, I took another look at Bloomberg Philanthropies’ critical role in financing anti-vaping campaigns. The story, headlined Michael Bloomberg Loves Data. Except When He Doesn’t, reports for the first time that some of the nation’s leading anti-smoking experts have been trying to meet with Bloomberg since last spring. He has refused. He and his colleagues seem entirely uninterested in listening to critics. One more bit of evidence (not that we need it) that foundations are accountable to no one.

Thanks for reading.

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