In response to this “news” the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) had highlighted that at that point they were not even aware to the alleged WHO report suggesting the ban. “For the sake of clarity, the IBVTA is clear in its belief that neither the WHO, nor any UK Government agency is suggesting that vaping should be banned in any form in the UK.”

The IBVTA pointed out that given that the next Conference of Parties for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC COP9) will be in The Hague later this year, the UK actually aims to “enlighten other countries” by showing what has been achieved via the use of vaping products for tobacco harm reduction.

The APPG for Vaping, a collection of MPs and Peers whose 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,” have invited the Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), John Dunne, as an expert witness, to advice the UK delegation attending the summit.

The WHO COP9’s negative repercussions

As in previous years, sadly the WHO COP9 is expected to have repercussions for vaping industries around the world, and for members of the public who would like to use the products in a bid to quit smoking. Hence, the APPG hopes that the UK’s progressive approach may inspire other nations to adopt similar strategies.

“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 during the 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.

The importance of Tobacco Harm Reduction

Chaired by Mark Pawsey MP, the parliamentary group strives to highlight the public health benefits of harm reduction tools, and the potential they could provide in reducing the world’s smoking rates. “I was happy to accept the invitation from the APPG, because the UKVIA believe we have an incredible opportunity to spread the word – that innovative, appropriately-regulated vaping industries save lives. Post-Brexit Britain is newly independent in forums like COP9, and it means we can drive this positive message home like never before,” said Dunne.

“We can be rightly proud of the UK’s record on harm reduction, but we must not be complacent. Regressive, prohibition-style strategies are alive and well internationally, and we must not let them undo all that has been achieved here. A robust, evidence-based approach from the UK can defend the gains we have made domestically, empower positive change internationally and confirm Britain’s role as a world leader in harm reduction.”

The WHO Risks Being Labelled an “Enemy of Tobacco Harm-Reduction”