Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

It’s crazy hard to quit smoking. More than half of adult smokers try to quit in any given year, according to the most recent data from the CDC, and fewer than one in ten succeed. Nicotine patches, nicotine gums, nicotine lozenges, medicines like varenicline, cognitive behavioral therapy–nothing works especially well. This is why some scientists are …

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Advocacy groups are almost entirely disconnected from anything that feels like a market. The people who pay their bills – foundations and individual donors – are not their customers. They typically can’t measure their effectiveness. And their “competitors,” to the degree they have any, are often their allies. The Nature Conservancy and WWF compete with …

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The government last week released encouraging news about youth vaping. It is down by 60 percent over the last two years. It’s too early to be certain — the results of this latest government survey are not strictly comparable with data from past years — but it appears as if the youth vaping epidemic is …

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Here we are, with summer coming to a close, and I am more than a little surprised to find that I have devoted most of my working time during 2021 to a single topic–electronic cigarettes. I’ve never been a smoker or a vaper, and paid no attention to e-cigarettes until late last year, when I …

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Stanton Glantz, one of the world’s best-known tobacco researchers, had everything going for him — a first-class brain, financial support, a tenured professorship and a passion for the task at hand. No scientist, it seemed, was more committed to reducing the death and disease caused by smoking Glantz led the creation of an invaluable archive of tobacco-industry …

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Last month, a scientific journal published a peer-reviewed study with encouraging news for anyone concerned by the impact of smoking on health. The study in the American Journal of Health Behavior identified more than 17,000 cigarette smokers who purchased a Juul starter kit, which includes a rechargeable e-cigarette and four flavored pods. A year later, more than half said …

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Take a look, please, at this poster from the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, a nonprofit supported by tax dollars. Setting aside the absurd notion of a drug-free New Jersey — presumably, there are no plans to ban alcohol, caffeine and aspirin from the Garden State — the clear implication is that e-cigarettes will …

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It is not often that well-respected nonprofit organizations take the side of the powerful against the weak. Yet that, in my view, is where the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Truth Campaign find themselves these days in the debate over e-cigarettes. That’s why I’ve been spending time lately reporting and writing about e-cigarettes, and …

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My story about Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and their campaign against electronic cigarettes generated more reaction that anything I’ve written in years, with the possible exception of my reporting on the workplace abuses at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The story appears in the current issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, …

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The philanthropy of the very rich is an exercise of power, says Stanford professor Rob Reich. As such, billionaire philanthropy deserves scrutiny and not automatic gratitude. With that in mind, I began a deep dive three months ago into a campaign against electronic cigarettes funded largely by a $160-million, three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Much …

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