Le Monde and The Investigative Desk delved into the multi-layered world of Big Tobacco’s 21st century astroturfing. They discovered that under the guise of defending individual freedom, fake consumer organisations are promoting e-cigarettes. 

These organisations are an illusion to the public and decision-makers, aiming to influence regulation of these new products and to hamper tobacco control. They are secretly funded by the tobacco lobby and the networks of American oil billionaires.

The stakes are not just financial. This elusive nebula is working to disseminate a radical right-wing ideology, hostile to government intervention, in the heart of Europe: libertarianism.

This investigation has been nominated for the Goud Freelancer 2022 Award. 

Photo image: Le Monde

Team members

Ties Keyzer

Ties Keyzer is a journalist based in The Netherlands. 

Tim Luimes

Tim Luimes is a freelance investigative journalist based in The Netherlands.

Tim Luimes

Stéphane Horel

Stéphane Horel (France) is an investigative journalist at Le Monde.

Stéphane Horel

Eva Schram

Eva Schram is a freelance journalist on the West Coast of the United States. 

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