Sadly, amongst tobacco harm reduction experts, the WHO has become renowned for becoming aggressively anti-vaping, despite all the scientific data available in favour of e-cigarette use for tobacco harm reduction. CAPHRA Executive Coordinator and AVCA (Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy) director Nancy Loucas, has previously highlighted that the health agency’s position against e-cigarettes has been influenced and compromised by vested interests that provide funds to the organisation, as in this case.
“This vested interest has coloured the information in order to serve the political and financial interests of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Gates Foundation who provide nearly half of all the funding for the WHO-FCTC. The WHO is lying to you to protect their own financial interests and keep their private donors happy. They are not objective. They are not focused on their own mandate under FCTC to promote the health of the people and their right to have information to make informed choices regarding their health,” said Loucas.
Out of touch with the latest science on vaping
Similarly in a recent media release, the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), said that sadly, the health agency is out of touch with growing evidence on the public health potential of vaping. “Recent recommendations made by the WHO study group on Tobacco Product Regulations would prohibit electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems where the user can control device features and liquid ingredients.”
Last March, UKVIA Director General John Dunne, said the WHO has become a threat to smoking-cessation and harm-reduction in the UK. “While the WHO is scheduled to hold a crucial summit on vaping in November 2021, known as COP9, it continues to find itself at odds with health and industry advocates.
“Certain WHO positions are now so out of date, and so thoroughly refuted by the experts, that they may as well be saying the earth is flat. They deviate dramatically from leading experts, including Public Health England (PHE) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
Take for example vaping helping people to quit smoking, which the WHO says there is ‘little evidence’ of. As early as 2019 clinical trials were finding vaping to be almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Just this month, Public Health England (PHE) found in its Vaping Evidence Review 2021 that smoking quit rates involving a vaping product were higher than with any other method in every single English region. For the WHO to hold such contrary views is either bad science or bad faith. both risk it becoming an enemy of harm-reduction.”
The WHO FCTC
A month earlier, the APPG for Vaping, a collection of MPs and Peers who’s aim is “To explore the most appropriate parliamentary and regulatory response to e-cigarettes and to raise education and literacy amongst policy makers regarding e-cigarettes and related public policy questions,” had invited Dunne as an expert witness to advice the UK delegation attending the WHO FCTC summit.
As it has done in previous years, the meeting is expected to have negative repercussions on tobacco harm reduction and vaping industries around the world. Hence the APPG hopes that the UK’s progressive approach may inspire similar stances across the globe.
“The UK has a huge duty of care to take a positive stance and challenge interpretations… Britain’s newly independent status really gives us an opportunity to lead this on the world stage,” said Dunne at an evidence meeting, which was also attended by Professor Gerry Stimson of Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC), Clive Bates of Counterfactual, and Daniel Pryor of the Adam Smith Institute.