27 Aug WHO under fire for refusal to accept & promote vaping as safer alternative to smoking
“One American Journal of Public Health article is proving to be a watershed moment in the vape debate. It has singularly pushed the World Health Organization to the complete outer when it comes to considered international opinion and research,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).
CAPHRA’s comments follow 15 past presidents of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) publishing an article titled ‘Balancing Consideration of the Risks and Benefits of E-Cigarettes’ in the AJPH.
The authors state: “While evidence suggests that vaping is currently increasing smoking cessation, the impact could be much larger if the public health community paid serious attention to vaping’s potential to help adult smokers, smokers received accurate information about the relative risks of vaping and smoking, and policies were designed with the potential effects on smokers in mind. That is not happening.”
“The authors confirm what we’ve been saying all along: Overblowing youth vaping issues has only led to overall public health being harmed. This is because pressured politicians feel forced to reduce the appeal and availability of safer nicotine options, meaning fewer adult smokers successfully quit deadly cigarettes,” says Ms Loucas.
CAPHRA believes the World Health Organization’s (WHO) corrosive and corrupted view against safer nicotine products is forcing more and more prominent international experts to speak out.
Ms Loucas says the authors’ crystal-clear statement that ‘vaping can benefit public health, given substantial evidence supporting the potential of vaping to reduce smoking’s toll’ directly challenges the WHO’s determination to whip up baseless hysteria and ban safer nicotine products.
“Given the well-accepted influence of billionaire foundations, like Bloomberg Philanthropies, on the WHO’s public health guidance, this latest intervention by the 15 former Presidents of SRNT is truly significant,” she says.
She says the individual authors’ credentials are exemplary. Further, SRNT is a globally respected organisation dedicated to evidence-based research on tobacco and nicotine use.
“The fact that this latest piece of work is receiving worldwide praise will be rattling the WHO. They know they’re on the wrong side of both the scientific evidence and ex-smokers’ successful experiences. The WHO is increasingly isolated defending their indefensible position against products which are saving millions of smokers’ lives every year,” she says.
CAPHRA says it is significant that the AJPH article has been backed up by an editorial from Martin Dockrell and John Newton of Public Health England (PHE), welcoming this latest work.
The PHE duo reinforce that: ‘These eminent authors conclude that the singular focus of US policies on decreasing youth vaping’ has been a distraction from the larger goal of tobacco control, namely reducing smoking and its harms’.
Ms Loucas says the SRNT article represents a significant line in the sand. It helps to rebalance the debate as well as highlight the mounting research proving the substantial benefits of adult smokers switching to vaping.
“Outrageously, for an organisation tasked with protecting the world’s public health, the WHO has been the key driver of misinformation on vaping. That has been detrimental to the health of over one billion adults who smoke globally,” she says.
Science has proven vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking, so it’s beyond all belief that the WHO continues to try to banish the world’s most effective smoking cession tool, she says.
“Thankfully, we’re seeing more experts in very high places calling for greater balance in the vape debate and for its benefits to be championed. The WHO’s poisoned positioning looks increasingly precarious,” says Ms Loucas.
Now live and boasting nearly 14,000 testimonials, CAPHRA is calling on those who’ve quit cigarettes through smoke-free nicotine alternatives to tell their story on www.righttovape.org
Consumer groups in the Asia Pacific region have also launched a petition at change.org/v4v-petition that urges the World Health Organisation (WHO) to respect consumer rights and to stop demonizing Tobacco Harm Reduction options ahead of the next biennial meeting of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in November.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]