By: Michael Graham featuring IWF Staff Julie Gunlock
Berkman insisted her organization is an authentic grassroots group. “We started with three moms who were concerned about messages our children were getting about vaping,” she told InsideSources. However, she has no problem with the Bloomberg pay-for-play model.
“I don’t think there can be any negative to having as much social media messaging as possible to get young people to protect themselves by giving up vaping,” Berkman said. “You’re not telling people to do something bad. You’re telling them to do something that is good for them. I don’t think there’s any problem with putting that positive public health message out, however it gets out there.”
Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women’s Forum isn’t surprised Bloomberg-funded organizations are targeting women. “Fear is one of the biggest motivators for moms,” she told InsideSources. “Women respond to these messages because they fear for their children. Which means that moms in the ‘stroller brigades’ as they’re known are the perfect candidates for spreading those fears.”
And what about using money to motivate these moms, without any disclosure on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? We Are Women Online declined to respond to repeated requests for comment from InsideSources.
“If this was about young people, Tobacco-Free Kids would not have specifically excluded from participating anyone who has ever recommended vaping as a tool to help adult smokers quit,” Conley says. “Instead, these campaigns have always been about preventing adults from accessing harm reduction products.”
Representatives of We Are Women Online did not respond to repeated requests for comment.