Vape Business Ireland (VBI) has joined an international push for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reform its stance on vaping regulation. This will be the first time that international consumer groups and leaders of the vaping industry join forces to reform discordant global health policies. Organisations from across North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia have signed this call to action.
The WHO’s tobacco control group will be meeting at the 8th session of its Conference of the Parties (COP8) in Geneva (1-6 October) to explore international guidance on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (vaping products/e-cigarettes). Despite having recognised vaping’s potential for reducing smoking rates, the WHO tobacco control group took the contradictory stance in 2016 that member states could also ban vaping products outright as part of a tobacco control plan. The WHO’s position is at odds with member states, in particular those such as the UK and New Zealand, who advocate smokers switching to vaping as part of harm-reduction policy. The UAE, Philippines and Australia are also currently considering lifting their bans on vaping.
International vaping bodies have come together out of concern that the WHO’s stance may compromise the progress made by countries who have embraced vaping, by opening the door to potential bans. Vapers believe the WHO tobacco control group’s messaging is not only detrimental to public health, but unaccountable, least of all to the consumers whose taxes fund but do not appear to influence its policies.
VBI Director Micheal Kenneally 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 WHO to ensure that its policy decisions at the Geneva congress reflect the evidence and good common sense.”
This global call to action urges the WHO tobacco control group to acknowledge vaping as part of an effective harm reduction strategy, to reverse its previous decision to invite bans and restrictions on vaping; and to recommend that member states regulate tobacco and vaping products separately. The signatories include:
ANAFE-Confindustria – Italy
Asian Vape Association (AVA) – Asia
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) – Australia
Australian Vaping Advocacy, Trade and Research (AVATAR) – Australia
Canadian Vaping Association – Canada
Global Vaping Standards Association (GVSA) – USA
France Vapotage – France
Koora Elektronické Kouřeni (KELK) – Czech Republic
Malaysia E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alternatives (MEVTA) – Malaysia
Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) – Philippines
Udruga Korisnika Osobnih Isparivača (CROHM) – Croatia
Vape Business Ireland (VBI) – Ireland
Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) – New Zealand
Verband des eZigarettenhandels (VdeH) – Germany
Note to the Editor:
• Vaping was found to be 95% less harmful than smoking in a 2015 report by Public Health England (PHE).
• PHE’s report in 2018 further concluded that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits.
• The Healthy Ireland Survey 2017 found that 37% of Irish smokers successfully used vaping to quit smoking despite no help or encouragement from Quit.ie or the HSE.
• Research conducted by VBI in 2017 found that 7 in 10 respondents used vaping products as an alternative to smoking, not in conjunction with cigarettes.
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