Despite the account of scientific data in favor of e-cigarettes for harm reduction, the WHO still commends countries who have implemented unreasonable vaping bans. Many public experts who attended the World Health Organization’s biennial conference FCTC COP8 are left disappointed in the WHO for their action.
The WHO insists on rejecting all the data pointing out the success of e-cigarettes at reducing smoking rates. E-cigarettes or heat-not-burn devices have been recorded to be safer alternatives to smoking and the authors of a new report titled “No fire, No, smoke” stressed this fact in their publication.
It is ironic how the WHO would ignore an international treaty which approves e-cigs as lower alternatives to smoking and still endorse harm reduction in principle.
“What a tragedy as one billion lives who could have quit smoking are left with no safer alternative.”- said Professor Gerry Stimson of Knowledge Action Change. The WHO now ignores its own treaty which encourages the use of safer nicotine products as a harm reduction approach.
Undeniable Data That Link E-Cig Use To Declining Smoking Rates
The report showed all the positive data from countries that have already endorsed safe alternatives. It also showed the 39 countries where e-cigarettes or nicotine e-liquids are banned, including Saudi Arabia and Australia. The report is quite contrasting and there is a record of the reduction in smoking rate amongst young women from 30% to 1% after the introduction of snus in Norway.
The UK is now boasting a drastic reduction in smoking rates ever recorded. They are the second lowest in Europe after Sweden. This is attributed to the endorsement of e-cigarettes in these nations.
The lead author of the report, Harry Shapiro said: “countries banning the use of vaping products need to realize that they are only increasing the patronage of the tobacco industry.” So, when examining the data, countries should take cognizance of the smoking reduction rate and how it is closely tied to the availability of these substitutes.
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), urged UK delegates to seize the opportunity at COP8 to raise awareness about the significant drop in smoking rate in their nation after the endorsement of e-cigarettes and other smoking-cessation alternatives. The NNA Chair, Sarah Jakes stated this earlier this week to allow the attending nations become aware of the positive experience of nations like the UK.
She also stressed that “the UK boasts over 1.7 million former smokers who have switched to vaping and has recognized the significant health benefits that smoking-cessation tools can achieve.” They have experienced a dramatic decrease in smoking in recent years after many campaigns such as Stoptober which carried positive message towards vaping. E-cigarettes are now proven to be safer alternatives to smoking.
Former Smokers Scared To Use The Devices That Are Helping Them Quit
Many vapers still live in fear of getting arrested for trying to save their lives with devices that are helping them quit smoking. Nancy Stutthoff of the International Network of Nicotine Consumers Organization said that “countries are banning life-saving smoking-cessation tools because of the WHO encouraged bans, but sadly allow the use of deadly cigarettes.”