Vape or vaping has been life-changing for many smokers in all parts of the world. It is considered by millions of former smokers, who have used it to successfully stop smoking cigarettes, to be one of the most effective cessation methods available compared to other methods.
It is no surprise that many millions of former smokers who have successfully switched to safer nicotine products are living better lives, not just for themselves but for their loved ones too. No burning, no smoke = a better quality of life for all.
The World Health Organisation Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is having their biennial meeting this November to propose new guidelines on combating smoking. In their pre-conference guidance to member countries, the WHO continues to insist that safer nicotine products, such as vapes or e-cigarettes are as harmful and dangerous as combustible tobacco. This position is based on deliberate falsehoods, not facts, as they refuse to acknowledge the vast body of independent peer reviewed scientific evidence that clearly shows vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking.
If left unchallenged, these products might be banned or regulated out of existence by governments who have been and continue to be misled by these lies. This will put many smokers at risk of not being able to choose a safer alternative and may force the millions who have already successfully switched to less harmful nicotine products, back to the very thing that will cause HARM and eventually kill them. The WHO FCTC needs to finally start to follow its own constitutional mandate – which they have so far wilfully and cynically failed to do.
1) Stop lying to us and only provide guidance based on sound scientific facts, methodologies and principles.
“Professionals committed to excellence in health – We uphold the highest standards of professionalism across all roles and specializations, We are guided by the best available science, evidence and technical expertise.”
2) Regulate based on sound scientific facts that include stakeholder (consumer) participation as part of the decision making process.
“Persons of integrity – We practice the advice we give to the world, We engage with everyone honestly and in good faith, We hold ourselves and others accountable for words and actions.”
3) Don’t ignore the basic human right to harm reduction that is one of the WHO founding principles.
“To serve public health at all times – to put people’s health interests first”.
4) Stop interfering with the rights of adults to make informed choices regarding their health and well being.
“Our actions and recommendations are independent, our decisions are fair, transparent and timely.”
5) Don’t discriminate against smokers, or users of safer nicotine products, because they aren’t doing what you want them to do.
“People caring about people – We courageously and selflessly defend everyone’s right to health, We show compassion for all human beings and promote sustainable approaches to health, We strive to make people feel safe, respected, empowered, fairly treated and duly recognized”
6) Follow your own mandate of “Collaboration with colleagues and partners – We engage with colleagues and partners to strengthen impact at country level, We recognize and use the power of diversity to achieve more together, We communicate openly with everyone and learn from one another”
7) Don’t use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to disregard our rights to choose alternatives.
“Professionals committed to excellence in health – We uphold the highest standards of professionalism across all roles and specializations, We are guided by the best available science, evidence and technical expertise, We continuously develop ourselves and innovate to respond to a changing world.”
All of us need to unite, as one, globally, for our voices to be heard loudly and clearly by those who would rather not listen. As adults, we have every right to choose how we live our lives – the right to make informed choices for our health, including the choice to use safer nicotine products as an alternative to combustible tobacco. We are NOT invisible, we are NOT going to be silent and we ARE going to stand up for ourselves and the more than one billion smokers in the world who are and will be denied access to these products if WHO is allowed to continue spreading its unfounded lies and judgemental, moralistic, inappropriate, undemocratic, deceitful and harmful rhetoric
A solution to the world’s smoking problem is already here, we need to make WHO FCTC HEAR US.