WHO Urged to Reform Vaping Policy


E-Cigarette and Vaping Regulations

Key members
of the vaping community have joined forces and come together, appealing to the
World Health Organisation to rethink and
reform their somewhat contradictory stance on the regulation of e-cigarettes, 
e liquids and vaping products. Let’s get the lowdown on the latest vaping news from
around the world.

Vaping in the UK

Vaping has
and continues to thrive in the UK, with some estimates suggesting that some 3.2
million of us have taken the steps to ditch the cigarettes and switch to the
potentially less harmful method of vaping, a figure that has
increased substantially since the lowly 700,000 reported in 2012. Indeed the UK
has some of the lowest rates of smoking
populations (17%) in Europe, second only to Sweden. Go us!

elsewhere, not all is as rosy as we have it here at home. On a global level,
vaping is still observed with a certain scepticism,
an outlook that is suggestively if not
mistakenly steered by the international body of officials that many look to as
a standard for world health – the eponymous World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO has in the past recognised that vaping has the potential to reduce smoking rates, a statement also
acknowledged by Public Health England’s declaration that 
e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than tobacco and have the potential
to help smokers quit. However, back in 2016 WHO’s Tobacco Control Group, took
the somewhat oppositional stance by saying that member states would also be
able to ban vaping products as part of their tobacco control plans.

Clearer E-Cigarette Use Messages

A confusing
state of affairs if ever there was one, enter the fray, the
UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) and a cohort of
international co-signatories, making their case for a clearer message to be
made when it comes to the use of e-cigarettes. Together
with pro-vaping organisations from 16
countries from across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia, UKVIA presented their statement
in Geneva prior to the 8
session of WHO’s Conference of the Parties (COP8).

The message
from the vaping community was clear and simple, and if received and implemented
could have the potential to significantly reduce the number of smokers that exist worldwide;

  1. Recognise that vaping has the potential to help smokers quit tobacco.
  2. Reverse the decision to allow
    countries to ban vaping products
  3. Confirm that combustible tobacco and
    vaping products should be regulated separately.

A member of UKVIA, Liz Jenkins said,
“We and our international co-signatories are proud to stand up for
vaping as a route for smokers seeking a less harmful alternative. We are keen
to work with the UK delegation and the WHO to ensure that its policy decisions
at the Geneva Congress reflect the
evidence and good common sense.”

WHO is Not on Board

One would
think that if respectable countries governed with a conservative constitution,
see the sense and evidence in e-cigarettes representing a potential to help
tobacco smokers quit, then you would also think that the World Health Organisation
might be on the same page? Alas, in this instance, common sense seems to shirk
its responsibility and waits quivering quietly in the shadows of WHOs foreboding final word.

Whilst the
impassioned appeal to WHO was a logical one that you would think would be met with
serious consideration, unfortunately,
industry members and journalists alike were refused entry to proceedings.

A spokesman
for WHO’s Tobacco Control Group has since declared that the plethora of
products marketed as ‘smoke-free’ and ‘heat-not-burn’ have been creating
confusion among consumers,
them to believe that they are safer to use, even though there is no independent
research confirming it.”

UKVIA and its
fellow international vaping bodies continue to fight the battle for a tobacco-free society and that
it’s safer to vape than smoke, we’ll keep you up to
date with this news as it develops.

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