Charles Gardner

    Dr. Charles A. Gardner has a PhD in developmental neurobiology from the University of Michigan. He has worked for the US Congress, the National Institutes of Health and as a senior advisor to the World Health Organization. From 1998 to 2003, Dr. Gardner served as the health attaché in the US Embassy New Delhi and senior representative of the US Department of Health and Human Services to South Asia. He has also taught healthcare ethics as an assistant professor at Howard University. Dr. Gardner has 10 years of experience in global health philanthropy as a program officer in the Rockefeller Foundation, Optimus Foundation and Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. He now serves as executive director of INNCO.

    INNCO is a global community of ex-smokers helping smokers quit, and defending the rights of 112 million People Who Use Safer Nicotine (PWUSN). We believe that current global efforts to deny 1.3 billion people—who use toxic forms of tobacco—access to safer nicotine alternatives is a form of mass murder. Safer alternatives include nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, prescription nicotine inhalers, nicotine pouches, nicotine vapes, snus and heated tobacco products. Almost all of us have lost a loved one to smoking. Almost all of us experienced health improvements after we quit smoking. This is neither a game nor a personal affectation. Access to harm reduction is a human right, a social justice imperative and a life-or-death issue. INNCO is a non-profit alliance of 35 independent volunteer-led Member Organizations around the world. We are funded by individual in-kind contributions and small donations from thousands of adult ex-smokers. INNCO’s Secretariat (but not our Member Organizations or Governing Board) is supported by a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), a US non-profit 501(c)(3) private foundation with a mission to end smoking in this generation. The FSFW is funded by a tobacco company. We are not comfortable with that. But we are transparent about it. INNCO is independent. We were founded in 2016, two years before FSFW came into existence. Our mission, purpose and goals are driven solely by our Members and Governing Board. Our Member Organizations are led by unpaid volunteers who, as a condition of membership, accept no funding from industry. In contrast, numerous organizations around the world oppose safer nicotine alternatives. Many, if not most, are funded by wealthy harm reduction deniers. None declare this as a conflict of interest. And that is a profound violation of public trust.