I’ve written before on this blog about the efforts of Alex Wodak, a director of the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, to smear the Cancer Council by alleging, completely falsely,  that they receive money from tobacco retailers and are therefore hypocrites.

I block many trolls and obsessives on Twitter for a variety of reasons.  I block Wodak because I don’t give the time of day to those who post unabashed “doctor knows best” arrogant tweets like these:

# at the end of the blog, see a list of prominent non-clinical supporters of vaping who despite their great handicap of not having a medical undergraduate degree, are apparently able to comprehend biological publications.

Wodak often tweets with unctuous certitude about the importance of politeness

Yet Wodak  has now joined with some semi-literate vaping troll, “Jerome Laguerre” (“Its all there in plain site … they not even hiding it”) whom I block on Twitter, in trying to imply that I am funded by “China”.

So let’s look at how they arrive at all this.  Laguerre probably googled my name, perhaps with “Sydney University” in the hope of hitting paydirt on some nefarious, scandalous, secret information about my shameful connections. He may have found this:

If he had bothered to then click “China Studies Centre” he might have noticed that the CSC is entirely funded by Sydney University and that 300 scholars at the University, including me, are “members” of the CSC. But Lageurre knows that I have “an official post”. 

What does “membership” mean? When the CSC was established at the University of Sydney in 2011, all staff with any research interest in China (in any field) were invited to register their interest with the CSC. This would facilitate communication and perhaps shared projects between staff, students and those external to the University sharing information and collaborating. All those with such interests are listed as “members”.

I had long had research and teaching collaborations in tobacco control with Fudan and Zhejiang Universities. I’d also edited a supplement on China for the BMJ’s Tobacco Control journal.  I had guest lectured at Zhejiang University once in 2010, and been to Fudan in Shanghai several times, to lecture and work with colleagues there on projects that eventually produced six publications (all listed in my CV here). Chinese universities often confer honorary roles on international staff who assist them with teaching and research. That happened to me with both of these universities.

In none of these collaborations was I paid anything. My air travel was paid for from $50,000 prize money I was awarded in 2008 for being NSW Cancer Researcher of the Year. I think it’s likely, although I don’t recall, that my hotel costs were paid for by the two Chinese universities. This is of course always customary when guest lecturers need to travel away from home.

So from that reality, Laguerre tweets, and Wodak retweets and responds (thus republishing the same utterly false tripe) that I “take money from China and Bloomberg through the Uni he is working for” to “produce bogus studies”. And predictably, this false news causes the intended reaction

Wodak has also recently published tweets stating that Maurice Swanson, the CEO of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, is somehow being funded indirectly by “Bloomberg” (by which he presumably means Bloomberg Philanthropies).

But ACOSH has never received any funding or support of any kind from Bloomberg. It has long been funded the West Australian government’s Health Promotion Foundation, Healthway, something that basic searching could have established.

Wodak’s on-going attempts to smear Australian tobacco control agencies, charities and individuals and to insinuate that they are being secretive about who is funding their work in relation to efforts to have governments seriously regulate e-cigarettes, are just disgraceful.

#some prominent non-medical researchers and advocates who are pro-vaping:Linda Bauld, Ron Borland, Jamie Brown, Coral Gartner, Marewa Glover, Peter Hajek, Wayne Hall, Ann McNeill, David Sweanor, Ken Warner, Robert West

See also in this series:

Vaping advocates say the darndest things. 1: The Cancer Council Australia takes huge donations from cigarette retailers. WordPress  30 Jul, 2020

Vaping advocates say the darndest things 2: Tobacco control advocates help Big Tobacco. WordPress 12 Aug, 2020

Vaping advocates say the darndest things 3: Australia’s prescribed vaping model privileges Big Tobacco WordPress Feb 15, 2021

Vaping advocates say the dardnest things 4: Many in tobacco control do not support open access to vapes because they are just protecting their jobs. WordPress 27 Feb 2021

Vaping advocates say the darndest things 6: There’s nicotine in potatoes and tomatoes so should we restrict or ban them too? WordPress 9 Mar, 2021