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The report mentioned above will serve as a framework for the discussions that are to take place at the long awaited FCTC happening between the 7th and the 12th of November in Delhi, India. On release of the UKCTAS’s review of the report, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations, (INNCO), an international organization who operates in full compliance with Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and was formed specifically to challenge the WHO on it’s unreasonable stance, released a statement saying that it is in full support of the UKCTAS’s concerned point of view.

The WHO’s current policy on e-cigarettes is more likely to endanger public health instead of improving it.Judy Gibson, the Steering Group Coordinator of INNCO

The UKCTAS commentary pointed out an alarming number of points amongst which the fact that the WHO does not refer to vaping products as alternatives to cigarettes, or even compare them to the latter when assessing their risks, therefore fails to mention that although there may be risks, they are significantly minimal when compared to those of their tobacco counterparts. Another worrisome section of the report is the one referring to the adverse effects of second-hand exposure to ENDS aerosol, which fails to point out which, (if any), chemicals these adverse effects might be possibly attributed to, therefore provides no concrete evidence that exposure to secondhand vapor poses any risks to bystanders.

The EU’s stance, not a positive one

The UKCTAS pointed out an alarming number of points, amongst which the fact that the WHO does not compare vaporizers to e-cigs when assessing their risks.
Last week, a meeting took place in Brussels to finalise the EU’s 28 members’ collective position on e-cigarettes. A spokesperson for INNCO reported that despite the study released by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians which found that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, “reports suggest the EU statement will not contain any positive statements”. This is bad news for those who believe that vaping has an important role in smoking cessation, as the FCTC’s 180 signatories, amongst which the EU, will decide on a future global policy in relation to tobacco products and unfortunately e-cigarettes.

Upon release of the UKCTAS’s summary report the INNCO contacted the EU’s Ministers of Health, urging them to read it and give substantial consideration to the points raised, stating “It is important that the EU collective response to e-cigarettes reflects the positive health benefits conferred on smokers who switch to safer nicotine products and these benefits, as well as potential risks, are assessed objectively.”

WHO still refutes scientific evidence

The announcement by INNCO was concluded by a statement from Judy Gibson, the Steering Group Coordinator of INNCO who said “The WHO’s current policy on e-cigarettes is more likely to endanger public health instead of improving it. Once again the WHO remains resolute in refusing to acknowledge scientific evidence and opinions from the world’s leading experts in tobacco addiction. This needs to change – now.”

The original WHO report to inform the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was published online in August 2016 :