The new trade body for the UK vaping industry has condemned the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) stance on vaping regulation as part of its plans for tobacco control.
The biennial gathering of the WHO’s tobacco control group, described by one British MP as a “waste of money”, met in Delhi this week to discuss international strategies for tobacco harm reduction.
The COP7 conference’s core mission is to combat tobacco use and promote public health, but this secretive gathering has also begun spreading its influence into the area of vaping – an area for which it has no mandate.
Despite many governments, such as the UK’s, seeing vaping as a powerful tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction, the WHO has said that prohibition of vaping products is a viable option in tobacco reduction strategies.
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), a newly formed industry body for the UK vaping sector, is dismayed by the tone this sets for public health officials who are currently reviewing their own approach to vaping.
Brett Horth, a UKVIA board member, and CEO of Guildford-based Vapouriz, said;
“The WHO’s position on vaping is entirely counterproductive. How can we be in a position where respected health agencies, like our own Public Health England, are saying that vaping is up to 95% safer than tobacco use but at the same time announce an extra £15m funding for an international organisation like the WHO which says it’s acceptable to ban it?
“If a complete ban was ever brought in, preventing people from using vaping as a highly beneficial route towards smoking cessation, it’s no exaggeration to say it could cost lives in the long term.”
Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health and Cancer Research UK have all recently acknowledged that vaping could play a significant part in reducing tobacco use, and ultimately save lives.
John Dunne, a UKVIA board member, and MD of Nicopure Labs, added;
“The UK has so far taken a very enlightened approach to vaping technologies and their potential for tobacco harm reduction. In fact many Stop Smoking Services across the country have started using them as part of their offer to smokers trying to quit. What message does this send to them?
“The tone the WHO are setting by leaving the door open to prohibition could be a public health disaster that would cost lives, and a real missed opportunity for those trying to break the link with tobacco. We urge the UK government to take a stand against this decision.”
Public Health Minister, Nicola Blackwood, said at a recent Westminster debate
“it is notable that one of the most significant disruptions to smoking in recent years has had nothing to do with Government intervention. We have seen considerable take-up of e-cigarettes in the UK, and we know that almost half of the 2.8 million current users are no longer smoking tobacco.