Oh dear the WHO (World Health Organisation) is on the warpath against vaping yet again.


I became aware of this due to the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance) email and social media campaign calling vapers to act.

An article on the NNA website gives a rundown of what threats are being made by the WHO for the COP 10 (Conference Of the Parties) in November this year. This event is held every 2 years and is attended by delegates from all 193 United Nations WHO member governments.

nna who

The conference will be discussing the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) and knowing WHO it will be very biased against vaping.

The UK is a signatory to the FCTC and also a major funder of related activities.

If no countries object to the proposals discussed then the FCTC will bring these into action.

If even a small group of countries object – the inability to achieve a consensus vote will mean these threats will not be put into action.

Also Ireland play a huge part being involved in the FCTC and as a part of the EU so please if you are a vaper in Ireland – get involved!

Basically if the FCTC make these proposals legally binding they could over-ride our own laws. If the Government does not comply, massive pressure will be put onto them until they give in and go along with the FCTC regulations.

Previous COP meetings have been anti vaping as our Neil H reported on COP9 in 2021.

WHO Threats

Some of the threats include…

  • A ban on all open system vaping products
  • A ban of all flavours except tobacco
  • A ban on nicotine salts in vaping products
  • Regulating products so that they are all exactly the same and restrict delivery of nicotine
  • Demanding that countries around the world treat vaping and heated tobacco products the same as combustible tobacco
  • Taxation at the same rate as cigarettes, banning use where smoking is prohibited, large graphic health warnings, plain packaging, and a ban on all advertising, promotion and sponsorship

You can view the threats in more detail in the NNA COP 10 PDF here.

This could cause damage to the UK as…

“Decisions are made on consensus, not by voting, so if no objections are received the proposals will be approved. Parties who attend are expected to incorporate the decisions into their national laws. The treaty is legally binding so if a country does not abide by decisions at the meeting, political weight will be on politicians to do so because attendance is taken as agreement with the consensus.”

Why Should You Get Involved?

The UK and Ireland are sending delegates to the conference and all countries attending will have discussed their policy positions ready for the event. I have asked for information on who the UK delegate will be but have had no replies as yet.

We need to share our thoughts to help persuade our delegate to stand up for the rights of vapers. The more people who are involved the better. Even one delegate who disagrees with the FCTC proposals could prevent them being instigated as all proposals require full agreement.

Sadly the opportunity for the majority of people to even attend is slim verging on impossible, with a limited number of “observers” invited, who are not able to access the full conference either.

Therefore we need to make sure the people representing our countries are aware of tobacco harm reduction, its importance and how it is beneficial to those of us who have or want to quit smoking using these methods.

With the WHO and FCTC being pretty anti-vaping in the past – it is so necessary that our representative is fully educated and aware of alternative nicotine options.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – Maggie Throup MP sent a pro vaping video to the delegates prior to the COP9 meeting in 2021. I hope we have a similar stance for COP10.

The NNA say…

“We are asking for all those who have concerns to start writing NOW to protect the most successful alternatives to smoking against blind, unscientific, and ideological hostility from the WHO.”

“The UK delegation to the conference, as with all other national delegations, is instructed by the country’s government which, in turn, is answerable to you, the electorate. To ensure that these threats are rejected in November, you must start writing now to express your concerns to your elected representatives and those involved in the COP10 process in the UK.”

I contacted Louise Ross who is the Interim Chair of the NNA and Business Development manager of the Smoke Free App, with some questions.

louise ross

Firstly I asked how much impact the COP10 FCTC could have on harm reduction policy in the UK and Ireland?

“This could be devastating for harm reduction and public health in the UK and Ireland. It will make it almost impossible for people who had stopped smoking using a vape to continue to manage their nicotine needs, and will likely drive them back to smoking. Some may blame them for continuing to use nicotine, but that is their choice, it is no one else’s business, and without the WHO interference, would have been a choice they could continue with for as long as they wanted. It will also make it impossible for Stop Smoking Services and health trusts to continue the valuable work they are doing with vapes to get smokers to switch, some of whom have incredibly poor health. Researchers who are engaged in studies where vaping is integral to the success of the programme, such as with homeless people, will also find they cannot continue their work.”

I asked Louise if vapers want to contact their MP’s and Focal Point people do you have any recommendations of what to say and how to word it? Louise responded…

“Vapers and others who support them should email their MP using They work for you, which is a super-easy website from which you can send a message to your MP – it even finds the right one for where you live. Keep it simple, concise and polite. Tell your personal story – you don’t need to go all sciency if it’s not your thing but make sure the MP knows that you want them to act on this”

Finally I asked how important is that for the public to get involved?

“It is really important that we act on this – once decided, it will affect all countries signed up to the FCTC, which includes the UK. Please act now before it’s too late. If you sit back and think someone else will sort this, you’re wrong. Every voice matters”

I also spoke to Martin Cullip who is a long time vaping consumer advocate and International Fellow of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance Consumer Center, Washington D.C.

martin cullip yt

He kindly explained to me (a relative newbie) the significance of COP10 and what impacts it could have on the UK THR stance.

I also asked him for a comment and he said…

“The NNA’s call to action is a very important initiative. The WHO is extremely hostile to lower risk alternatives to smoking but it cannot make decisions at November’s meeting, only the Parties to the FCTC treaty (national governments) can. At COP9, Covid restrictions were still in place in many countries, so the meeting was held virtually. It was decided that discussions would be deferred to COP10 when delegates could meet face to face. The result is that a whole host of serious threats have accumulated which are likely to be on the agenda.

If delegations do not stand up for vaping and other reduced risk options, decisions will be made at COP10 which signatories to the treaty, like the UK, are expected to abide by. WHO-commissioned reports openly discuss the threats that the NNA has highlighted, and these documents are provided to country delegations to guide their actions at the conference. Advocates for harm reduction must start trying to influence country delegations before they travel to Panama with their government positions already decided. The NNA has provided good information on how to go about it and I hope it encourages many people to do just that.”

Thank you to Louise for taking the time to answer my questions. Also HUGE thanks to Martin who gave me (a big chunk of) his time to help me understand the powers of the FCTC and COP10.

How To Get Involved

  • Write to your MP and express your objections to these threats. You can find out who your MP is and their contact details on the UK parliament website. Also you can use the website Writetothem to compose your message.

“Tell them why the products are so important and why WHO threats must be resisted. Ask them to pass on your concerns to the government and insist the UK stands up for vaping and other non-combustible nicotine alternatives to smoking. The UK delegates may or may not have been selected already but ask your MP to enquire who is on the delegation so you can write to them.”

  • Write to the FCTC focal point person in your country. This will be the person who passes information between the FCTC Bureau and the Government. The focal point person for the UK is Alison Walker ( healthybehaviours@dhsc.gov.uk ). For those outside of the UK this link will tell you who is your focal point.

“Tell the focal point that you wish to know what current plans are being communicated from the FCTC Bureau to the UK government and vice versa. Ask them for updates, meeting minutes and other information about the COP10 process.”

  • Tell your story in a polite but persistent way. Share your story of how vaping helped you quit smoking, emphasise the type of equipment and flavours which made your quit journey a success.
  • I suggest you mention that it scares you how this important tool in your non smoking journey could be at risk.
  • Also emphasise how vaping will play a huge part in meeting “Smoke Free” goals.
  • Share your messages and letters with the NNA.

I have emailed the focal point person and my local MP and have asked if a UK delegate has been selected yet.

I received a reply from a representative of my local MP Lucy Allan who said the following…

“Thank you for your email to Lucy.

While e-cigarettes are not risk free, the Government is actively supportive of the use of e-cigarettes as a means to help people stop smoking and contribute towards the goal of a smoke free England by 2030.

Some of the highest success rates of those trying to stop smoking are among people using an e-cigarette, with evidence suggesting that an additional 70,000 people stop smoking every year as a result of using these devices.

An estimated 2.4 million vapers are former smokers, and Vaping Awareness Month – VApril – provides an opportunity to highlight the potential health benefits of making the switch.

The Government is currently revising the Tobacco Control Plan and is considering implementing the recommendations from the Khan review, which was published on 9 June 2022.

I am unsure about your specific concerns about the WHO forum but will relay your concerns directly to Lucy.

Best wishes”

So no new info on COP10 but still a positive view on vaping.


The organisation CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) has also called for action prior to COP 10.

According to the Tobacco Reporter website, CAPHRA are calling for delegates from vaping advocacy groups to be able to attend the meeting.

The Executive Director Nancy Loucas said…

“Millions have successfully used vaping to move away from combustibles and unsafe oral nicotine products, yet the FCTC looks set to bury its head in the sand again at COP10. CAPHRA believes visiting delegations must include a consumer voice to give at least some balance to all the misinformation”


Shell Ecigclick Photo
Michelle Jones

I am an engineer and Technical Author by trade. My journey in vaping began around 2016, in the days of Tornado tanks, Ego batteries and Variable Voltage. It took me a few years to fully quit smoking but I finally stopped in June 2019 and that is all thanks to vaping! 20mg Nicotine Salts are my hero! Oh and I am partial to a nice pod mod and Bubblegum e-liquid! I have reported on the latest news on Ecigclick since 2017 and love being part of this great team! My passion for Tobacco Harm Reduction has also led me to becoming a Trustee for the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance) aiding in Advocacy

I am an engineer and Technical Author by trade. My journey in vaping began around 2016, in the days of Tornado tanks, Ego batteries and Variable Voltage. It took me a few years to fully quit smoking but I finally stopped in June 2019 and that is all thanks to vaping! 20mg Nicotine Salts are my hero! Oh and I am partial to a nice pod mod and Bubblegum e-liquid! I have reported on the latest news on Ecigclick since 2017 and love being part of this great team! My passion for Tobacco Harm Reduction has also led me to becoming a Trustee for the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance) aiding in Advocacy


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here