The World Health Organization Taken To Task By Sarah Jakes and the NNA
World No Tobacco Day – that annual multi million dollar campaign to get smokers off the cancer sticks – hardly set the world alight and the main losers are sadly those looking to quit and make the switch.
Indeed their total disregard of both smoking alternatives bordered on criminal given the sheer amount of smokers the world over making the switch to e-cigarettes.
The number of users of lit tobacco are tumbling here in the UK and US and last week France reported than 1million smokers had quit with many turning to vaping.
In fact it was shown that per person France has more vape shops that both the US and UK!
Add to that a recent report stating that Germany was the most relaxed country in Europe as far as vape legislation goes and you can see the vaping revolution is showing no signs of letting up as this BBC chart shows:
But still the WHO ignores the science and facts…
And as I reported in my piece World No Tobacco Day – WHO Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Adhanom..? – the WHO is also quite an ignorant organization in both attitude and knowledge around vaping.
They wrongly believe passive vaping is a risk – it isn’t – and have refused to consider evidence on the benefits of vaping vs smoking from advocacy groups around the world including the UK’s New Nicotine Alliance.
Indeed the WHO not only refused point blank to accept any of the NNAs carefully considered evidence around vaping – but placed them on their ‘black list‘ alongside tobacco companies and wait for it – arms dealers!
This as you can imagine has not impressed the NNA’s firebrand chairperson Sarah Jakes – more of what she has to say in a moment.
The WHO Needs To Re-Think It’s Stance On Vaping and Snus
But first here’s the key points the NNA believes the WHO has wrong regarding tobacco harm reduction:
- The World Health Organization is misleading in attributing a raised risk of heart and cardiovascular disease to tobacco, rather than smoking.
- The WHO could achieve improved results by adhering to its own stated commitments to tobacco harm reduction and providing opportunities to the public to make informed choices.
- Grass roots tobacco harm reduction campaigns have been instrumental in driving considerable reductions in smoking prevalence in many nations.
- World No Tobacco Day should be an opportunity to raise global awareness of innovative modern alternatives to smoking.
Sarah took the WHO’s stance on tobacco harm reduction to task saying:
E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking which a great many people find an acceptable substitute. They have contributed to record falls in smoking prevalence in the UK.
There have also been big declines in smoking prevalence in France and the USA due to uptake of innovative products, while Sweden and Norway boast by far the lowest smoking rates in Europe thanks to the widespread use of snus, a tobacco product which carries a fraction of the risk of smoking lit tobacco.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was founded with a commitment to encourage tobacco harm reduction. Its Ottawa Charter and Jakarta Declaration also pledge to put people at the heart of decision-making and to support and enable consumers to keep themselves, their families and friends healthy. Yet these goals appear to have been abandoned in favour of blindly attacking industry, ignoring the global success of alternative nicotine products and refusing to engage with consumers.
On World No Tobacco Day, it is time for leadership from the WHO in educating governments that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products as some states wrongly categorise them, and emphasising that it is the act of lighting tobacco and smoking it which is harmful to heart and cardiovascular disease, not tobacco in all its forms.
In 1976, Michael Russell famously said “people smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar”, leading to an acceptance of the nicotine replacement therapy market we have today. Yet increasingly the public are being misled into believing nicotine is a problem, when it can be a solution.
World No Tobacco Day should be a great opportunity to raise awareness of far safer alternative nicotine products to maximise benefits to public health worldwide. The WHO should be empowering people to take control of their health by way of clear messages on differing risks and the relative safety of nicotine, but this year they have sadly missed the target.”, said Sarah Jakes.
The NNA would like to see a greater commitment by the WHO and NGOs to correcting ideological opposition to successful consumer-driven solutions to lit tobacco, and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.
As to if the WHO will ever change its stance on all things e-cigarette and Snus is anyone’s guess though my feeling is no they wont and like I said at the start the only losers will be the billions of smokers and the WHO has their deaths on their hands.
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