Harm Reduction Campaign

Consumer Choice Center Joins Coalition Calling on the Biden Administration’s WHO Delegation to Recognise the Value of Tobacco Harm Reduction

Dear President Biden:

In January, the White House issued a “Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking,” in which you state “[i]t is the policy of my Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data,” as opposed to personal ideology. The undersigned commend this declaration and write to ensure that this science-driven decision-making extends to all areas of policymaking, even politically challenging matters such as tobacco and nicotine containing products.

Next month, a U.S. delegation will participate in the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), commonly known as COP9. The U.S. is a signatory to the FCTC, but has never ratified the treaty, and therefore participates under Observer Status. Traditionally, the Conference of the Parties convenes every two years to discuss issues related to the implementation of the treaty and to promote strategies that allegedly advance tobacco control strategies.

Based on its own data, the WHO estimates there will be approximately 1.4 billion cigarette smokers around the world in 2025. This statistic is further illustrated by research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that less than one in 10 cigarette smokers will successfully quit smoking each year. Notwithstanding these sobering numbers, the WHO continues to rebuff innovative, science-driven advancements in nicotine delivery that could expedite its goal of eradicating cigarette smoking.

U.S. leadership is needed at the WHO now more than ever, and this includes oversight of its tobacco control strategies. Although the FCTC recognizes three pillars of tobacco control – prevention, cessation, and harm reduction – it has done nothing to recognize the technological innovation or promote policies that advance scientifically substantiated less harmful alternatives. In contrast, the comprehensive U.S. approach to tobacco control, rooted in the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and signed into law by President Obama, authorized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop pathways to bring less harmful noncombustible products to the market for adult consumers that will otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes. While not a perfect process, the FDA has demonstrated the viability of these processes and that adult smokers deserve information about and access to less harmful products. In short, by authorizing some novel products, the FDA has affirmed its commitment to harm reduction and based these determinations on sound science as opposed to political ideology.

Society has adopted harm reduction in various aspects of our everyday lives, particularly as it relates to public health. However, there is a strong hesitancy with the WHO to accept harm reduction for tobacco, favoring instead to pursue “quit or die” policies that maintain the status quo and keep people using cigarettes.

As stated in the January memorandum, policies should be based on sound science, not autocratic regimes, personal ideology, or politics. We respectfully encourage the U.S. delegation participating in COP9 to advocate tobacco harm reduction – as clearly stated in the FCTC – as a vital component of any tobacco control strategy. This position aligns with U.S. law, FDA’s comprehensive approach, and basic common sense. Anything less is bowing to undue political pressure and fails to serve the hundreds of millions of adult smokers around the world that deserve access to better choices beyond cigarettes.


Lindsey Stroud
Director, Consumer Center
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Steve Pociask
President / CEO
American Consumer Institute

Gregory Conley
American Vaping Association

Amanda Wheeler
American Vapor Manufacturers Association

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Dave Morris
Arizona Smoke-Free Business Alliance

Peter J. Pitts
Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
Former FDA Associate Commissioner

Thomas Schatz
Citizens Against Government Waste

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center

Elizabeth Hicks
U.S. Affairs Analyst
Consumer Choice Center

Nick Orlando
Florida Smoke Free Association (FSFA)

Susan Stutzman
Georgia Vape Alliance (GVA)

Eric Curtis
Michigan Vape Shop Owners (MVSO)

Kim “Skip” Murray
Tobacco Harm Reduction Specialist MN Smoke-Free Alliance
Co-Founder, Safer Nicotine Wiki

Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

James Jarvis
Ohio Vapor Trade Association (OHVTA)

Mazen Saleh
Policy Director, Integrated Harm Reduction
R Street Institute

Tim Teml
Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois (SFACOIL)

Casey Given
Executive Director
Young Voices

The Digital Economy Minister Crusading to Legalize Vaping in Thailand

By Yaël Ossowski

Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn

In our work promoting smart policies on harm reduction around the world, the Consumer Choice Center is often engaged in battles to stave off vaping flavor bans or tax hikes that will harm consumers and smokers looking to quit.

And while those efforts are vital to individuals moving away from tobacco in liberal democracies, there are countries outside that sphere that still maintain outright bans or harsh restrictions on vaping and harm-reducing technologies – depriving millions of a less harmful method of consuming nicotine.

That’s why political leaders like Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society, are worth highlighting.

Recently, Minister Thanakamanusorn has come out in favor of legalizing vaping in order to address the high number of smokers in Thai society. He wants to join the 67 countries around the world that have legalized vaping as a means of giving smokers an option to quit.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, he’s become convinced of this position because he believes “vaping could be a safer choice for those struggling to quit smoking, adding there were at least 10 million smokers in the country.”

According to Public Health England, vaping products are at least 95% less harmful than combusted tobacco, and they have become integral in reducing smoking rates in developed countries like New Zealand, the UK, the United States, and Canada.

But vaping has yet to achieve significant acceptance or legality in many countries in Asia.

At present, total smoking prevalence among the Thai population hovers around 19%, and approximately 37% of all men.

As such, Thailand has long been a target of anti-smoking activists and health groups over the years to crack down on tobacco use. Both domestic and international groups have spent millions to reach the goal of achieving a total 30% relative drop in tobacco use.

One research organization at Thammasat University in Bangkok has been given grants as part of a $20 million global project by Michael Bloomberg’s charity Bloomberg Philanthropies to “monitor” tobacco regulations and push for bans on alternative technologies like vaping.

This follows Michael Bloomberg’s efforts at depriving adoption of harm-reducing nicotine products in developing countries like the Philippines, India, and others, as we have explored below:

Those funds, as well dispersed amounts from the UN’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, have been granted as a condition of certain regulations.

Thailand became the first Asian country to adopt “plain packaging” restrictions on cigarettes in 2019, and passed a harsh tobacco control measure that outright banned vaping products, restricted tobacco advertisements, and outlawed online sales.

Despite the millions spent, Minister Thanakamanusorn points out that it isn’t as effective as the activists claim, and hence he wants to look at vaping as a sustainable market alternative.

The effort to legalize vaping, however, will come with significant opposition. Both domestic doctor groups and the FCTC, as well as Bloomberg’s foundation, have put pressure on the government to enforce a continued ban on vaping products.

They are joined in their efforts by Thailand’s own state tobacco monopoly, Tobacco Authority of Thailand, which makes an annual revenue of 2 billion USD and would see a significant setback in state revenues if smokers were to switch to vaping products.

Considering the odds stacked against Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn’s vision for legalizing vaping in Thailand, it is clear that more voices will need to be heard in the debate.

Overall, we hope for a future that embraces the science of harm reduction and will allow the citizens of Thailand to use the same products that have helped millions of smokers quit in developed countries – if only the government lets them.

Yaël Ossowski (@YaelOss) is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center.

Pentingnya Pragmatisme untuk Memerangi Rokok

Konsumsi rokok merupakan salah satau permasalahan kesehatan pubik yang besar yang saat ini melanda berbagai negara di seluruh penjuru dunia, termasuk juga Indonesia. Sudah menjadi pengetahuan umum bahwa, mengkonsumsi rokok merupakan salah satu penyebab berbagai penyakit kronis yang dialami oleh jutaan orang di seluruh dunia, seperti kanker dan penyakit jantung.

Oleh sebab itu, kebijakan untuk menanggulangi dampak dari rokok ini merupakan salah satu kebijakan yang sangat umum yang diberlakukan oleh berbagai pemerintahan di seluruh dunia. Kebijakan tersebut sangat bervariasi, mulai dari kebijakan yang cukup longgar, seperti larangan iklan, kewajiban memasang peringatan di bungkus rokok, dan larangan memasang logo, hingga kebijakan yang sangat ketat seperti larangan total konsumsi produk tembakau.

Strategi pembatasan dan pelarangan ini sekilas memang merupakan hal yang terlhat masuk akal dan bisa diterima. Bila kita ingin banyak orang untuk berhenti menggunakan produk-produk tertentu yang terbukti berbahaya misalnya, maka langkah yang dianggap tepat adalah dengan memastikan masyarakat tidak bisa mendapatkan akses terhadap barang tersebut, atau setidaknya memberi disinsentif kepada masyarakat untuk tidak mengkonsumsi produk tersebut melalui informasi di label produk.

Tetapi, bukan berarti lantas anggapan yang sekilas terlihat masuk akal tersebut merupakan sesuatu yang tepat dan sesuai dengan kenyataan. Melarang masyarakat untuk mengubah perilakunya yang berbahaya seperti mengkonsumsi rokok tidaklah semudah membalikkan telapak tangan.

Bhutan misalnya, merupakan salah satu negara yang melarang penjualan dan konsumsi rokok pada tahun 2010. Tetapi bukan berarti permasalahan konsumsi rokok di negara Himalaya tersebut menjadi selesai. Kebijakan pelarangan rokok justru memicu banyak perdagangan rokok ilegal. Pada tahun 2020, Bhutan akhirnya perlahan mulai mengizinkan warganya untuk membeli rokok melalui perusahaan yang dimiliki oleh negara untuk melawan perdagangan rokok ilegal (dfnionline.com, 7/9/2020).

Hal ini tentu bukan merupakan hal yang mengherankan untuk kita yang mengetahui sedikit sejarah mengenai kebijakan prohibisi. Berbagai kebijakan untuk melarang produk-produk yang dianggap berbahaya, seperti minuman keras dan rokok misalnya, niscaya akan berakhir pada kegagalan, sebagaimana kebijakan prohibisi minuman keras yang diberlakukan di Amerika Serikat pada dekade 1920-an. Kebijakan tersebut justru semakin memperkuat organisasi kriminal dan mafia seperti Al Capone, yang akhirnya menjadi penyedia produk ilegal tersebut.

Terkait dengan kebijakan disinsentif kepada pengguna rokok, seperti kewajiban memasang gambar dampak rokok terhadap kesehatan di bungkus rokok misalnya, keberhasilannya juga masih dipertanyakan. Deborah M. Scharf dan William G. Shadel dari Rand Corporation misalnya, menulis bahwa hampir tidak ada dampak langsung dari kewajiban pemasangan gambar tersebut dengan efek terhadap para konsumen rokok (rand.org, 30/7/2014).

Scharf dan Shadel juga menuli bahwa, ada berbagai macam faktor yang sangat kompleks yang menentukan bagaimana konsumen akan bereaksi terhadap berbagai kebijakan yang ditujukan untuk mengurangi konsumen rokok tersebut. Tidak mustahil juga bahwa, kebijakan tersebut akan membawa dampak yang berkebalikan dari tujuannya, dengan membuat para perokok merasa defensif sehingga mereka menjadi tidak memperhatikan peringatan tersebut. Berdasarkan laporan, tidak sedikit juga para perokok yang “berkreasi” dengan menutup gambar peringatan tersebut agar mereka tidak perlu melihat gambar tersebut (rand.org, 30/7/2014).

Untuk itu, dibutuhkan langkah lain bila kita ingin menanggulangi dampak dari rokok, serta mengurangi konsumsi dari produk yang berbahaya tersebut. Kita harus mampu dan berani untuk mencoba berbagai solusi lain melalui pendekatan yang pragmatis ketimbang dengan terpaku pada ide-ide tertentu yang sudah terbukti gagal.

Sejarah sudah membuktikan bahwa, praktik konsumsi produk-produk yang membahayakan bagi kesehatan tidak bisa dilakukan melalui kebijakan yang keras seperti pembatasan hingga pelarangan total. Untuk itu, cara pragmatis yang paling memungkinkan untuk menekan dampak dari konsumsi tersebut adalah apabila ada produk lain yang dapat digunakan para perokok untuk berpindah dan memiliki dampak negatif yang jauh lebih kecil.

Saat ini sudah ada beberapa produk alternatif tersebut yang bisa kita temukan dengan mudah, khususnya kita yang tinggal di kota-kota besar. Salah satu produk tersebut yang kerap digunakan sebagai cara harm reduction strategy, atau strategi untuk mengurangi dampak negatif dari rokok itu sendiri, adalah rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal juga dengan nama vape.

Penggunaan vape sebagai bagian dari harm reduction strategy memang merupakan hal yang menimbulkan pro dan kontra, di mana tidak sedikit yang berpandangan bawah vape merupakan produk yang sama bahayanya, atau bahkan lebih berbahaya, dari rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Pandangan ini jelas adalah pandangan yang sangat keliru.

Pada tahun 2015 lalu, lembaga kesehatan publik asal Inggris, Public Health England (PHE), mengeluarkan laporan terkait dengan dampak vape terhadap kesehatan. Dalam laporan PHE tersebut, disebutkan bahwa produk vape 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (Public Health England, 19/8/2015).

Laporan ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat penting dan patut kita apresiasi. Adanya produk yang mampu menjadi alternatif rokok yang terbukti jauh lebih aman adalah berita yang sangat baik, dan memberi kesempatan bagi para perkok untuk memindahkan konsumsinya ke produk yang lebih aman.

Penggunaan vape sebagai produk alternatif dalam rangka harm reduction strategy bukanlah sesuatu yang hanya hadir di teori saja, melainkan juga sudah dipratikkan di negara lain. Inggris misalnya, mengkampayekan penggunaan vape untuk membantu para perokok menghentikan kebiasaannya yang sangat berbahaya. Kebijakan tersebut terbukti sangat sukses, dan melalui strategi harm reduction dengan menggunakan vape, 1,5 juta warga Inggris telah menghentikan kebiasaan merokoknya (consumerchoicecenter.org, 21/7/2020).

Sebagai pentutup, langkah dan strategi pragmatis merupakan hal yang sangat penting bila kita ingin mengurangi jumlah populasi perokok. Jangan sampai, kita terlalu terpaku pada ide dan pandangan tertentu, sehingga kita tetap mengimplementasikan kebijakan yang sudah terbukti gagal, sehingga tidak mampu membantu kawan-kawan kita yang perokok untuk menghentikan kebiasaannya yang sangat berbahaya.

Originally published here

New Smoking Pandemic Lurking As FDA Prepares Its Decision On E-Cigarettes

Today, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce its historical decision on the fate of e-cigarettes in the United States. As a result of a review of millions of applications made by big and small e-cigarettes makers around the country, the agency will either recognize vaping products as “appropriate for the protection of public health”, or ban them from the market. Despite unequivocal evidence proving the safety of e-cigarettes, the odds are not in favor of e-cigarettes, especially when it comes to smaller companies.

E-cigarettes were actually invented to help smokers quit, and have been enormously successful in doing so. Since 2013, when vaping became popular in the United Kingdom, the adult smoking rate there has plummeted. In fact, in the UK, the smoking rate is at itslowest since 1974. The popularity of vape flavors among adults is one of the reasons smokers have switched to vaping. Vapers that use flavors are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.

Although not complete, the FDA market authorization review process has shown bias against flavored e-cigarettes. On August 26, the FDA denied 55,000 flavored e-cigarette products market access for failing to “provide evidence that they appropriately protect public health” despite the clear body of evidence that e-cigarettes do improve the health of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes. Instead of acknowledging this evidence, the FDA pivoted instead to the illegal use of e-cigarettes by those under 21 years old, saying “flavored tobacco products are very appealing to young people” and hence require close examination. Such reasoning doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and only hurts adult consumers who seek to switch.

A recent study by the Consumer Choice Center and World Vapers’ Alliance found that if the US was to put in place vape flavor bans, over 7.7 million vapers would go back to smoking. If the main goal behind the market authorization review process is to protect public health and prevent smoking-induced diseases, then e-cigarette flavor bans—which are popular with smokers seeking harm-reducing alternatives—are the wrong way forward. 

Second, the application process has been unnecessarily bureaucratic and costly. The FDA itself estimated that building and submitting a market authorization application will take an average of 1,713 hours to compile and could cost several million dollars per product. For smaller vape companies, that is a heavyweight to bear. 

Speaking to POLITICO, Dave Morris, the owner of Phoenix, Arizona-based Vape Gravy Brands, said that his company has spent nearly every penny to apply for market approval of his products. Many of the applications that have been submitted to the FDA have been issued “refuse to accept” or“refuse to file” notices as their applications were deemed incomplete, or as failing to meet technical requirements.

Small vape shops are essential to driving down smoking rates. A study published by BMC Health found that “vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice.” Therefore, preserving small vape shops is critical to reduce smoking.

Due to a high volume of applications, it seems likely that the FDA will postpone its decision further. However, the predictions are far from optimistic. The United States, a land of innovation and entrepreneurship, is set to crush a technology that—unlike taxes and various other tobacco restrictions—has helped millions of smokers quit. Many developing countries will follow America’s lead, so the fate of vaping globally is at stake. In the end, in pursuit of public health protection, the FDA will bring about a new smoking pandemic. Haven’t we had enough of pandemics?

Originally published here

Flavoured vape e-liquids help smokers to quit smoking

A recent paper by Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) and the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) has concluded that vapers risk returning to smoking traditional cigarettes if they do not have access to flavoured vape e-liquids.

The paper titled Why Flavours Matter cited a five-year US study involving 17,000 Americans. It found that adults who used flavoured vaping products were 2.3 times more likely to quit traditional cigarettes compared with those who consumed tobacco-flavoured vaping products.

Read the full article here

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Both the EU Beating Cancer Plan and Dutch vape flavour ban – expected to enter into force on 1 July 2022 – fail to see the important role vaping plays in helping smokers quit.

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Such an approach doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and does nothing to reduce the smoking rates and beat cancer. The longer Europe continues to ignore an emerging plethora of studies on vaping and its lifesaving properties, the more lives will be lost.

Nearly 700,000 Europeans die every year as a result of smoking-induced cancer. Unless the EU recognises the benefits of vaping, these numbers will likely persist, depriving future generations of tobacco-free saved years of life. Anti-vaping policies are anti-human rights because they knowingly endanger the lives of smokers by limiting their access to an effective harm reduction tool.

Read the full article here

Pentingnya Informasi yang Lengkap Terkait Vape bagi Masyarakat

Rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal juga dengan istilah vape, saat ini merupakan produk yang tidak bisa dipisahkan dari kehidupan sehari-hari bagi jutaan masyarakat di Indonesia. Kita, khususnya yang tinggal di wilayah urban, dapat dengan mudah menemukan berbagai orang yang menggunakan produk rokok elektronik tersebut di berbagai tempat

Bagi sebagian orang, vape menyediakan berbagai pengalaman berbeda yang tidak bisa didapatkan dari mengkonsumsi rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Beberapa diantaranya adalah banyaknya pilihan rasa yang disediakan oleh berbagai produk vape yang dijual di pasar.

Tetapi, tidak semua pihak menyambut baik fenomena semakin populernya berbagai produk vape tersebut di masyarakat. Tidak sedikit sebagian kalangan yang menganggap hal tersebut adalah sesuatu yang sangat negatif, dan harus segera ditangani. Tidak jarang juga, orang yang menganggap justru rokok elektronik dianggap sebagai produk yang jauh lebih berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Padahal, berdasarkan penelitian, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Berdasarkan laporan dari lembaga kesehatan publik Inggris, Public Health England (PHE) tahun 2015 misalnya, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (gov.uk, 19/8/2015).

Berdasarkan American Lung Association, rokok konvensional yang dibakar misalnya, mengandung lebih dari 7.000 zat kimia, di mana 69 diantaranya merupakan zat berbahaya yang dapat menyebabkan kanker (lung.org, 20/8/2019). Sementara itu, terkait dengan rokok elektornik atau vape, dua bahan utama yang terkandung dalam cairan vape tersebut terdiri dari propylene glycol (PG) dan vegetable glycerin (VG) yang sudah dinyatakan aman oleh berbagai lembaga regulator, salah satunya adalah lembaga regulator Amerika Serikat, Food and Drugs Administration (24/10/2019).

Informasi ini tentu merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk diketahui oleh publik sebagai konsumen. Bila terdapat informasi yang terbuka mengenai hal tersebut, maka konsumen dalam hal ini memiliki kesempatan untuk memilih produk yang jauh lebih untuk mereka konsumsi.

Hal ini pula yang diungkapkan oleh organisasi pegiat hak konsumen vape di Indonesia, Asosiasi Konsumen Vape Indonesia (AKVINDO). AKVINDO menyatakan bahwa, saat ini masyarakat belum memiliki akses terhadap informasi mengenai vape atau rokok elektronik yang memadai, sehingga banyak menerima misinformasi dan kekeliruan (merdeka.com, 19/4/2021).

Pandangan yang sama juga diutarakan oleh Aliansi Vaper Indonesia (AVI). Menurut AVI, konsumen memiliki hak sebagaimana yang diatur dalam aturan perlindungan konsumen, diantaranya adalah mengenai akses terhadap informasi produk yang digunakan. Hal ini tentu termasuk juga para konsumen produk-produk vape atau rokok elektronik (vapemagz.co.id, 20/3/2021).

Informasi yang lengkap bagi konsumen agar mereka bisa memilih pilihan yang terbaik bagi diri mereka merupakan hal yang sangat penting, khususnya untuk para konsumen produk-produk yang sangat membahayakan kesehatan seperti rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Terlebih lagi, Indonesia merupakan salah satu negara dengan jumlah populasi perokok tertinggi di dunia. Pada tahun 2021, jumlah perokok aktif di Indonesia diestimasi sebesar 65,7 juta jiwa (jpnn.com, 29/4/2021).

Angka yang sangat tinggi ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat mengkhawatirkan. Mengajak seseorang untuk berhenti merokok bukanlah hal yang semudah membalikkan telapak tangan, karena rokok merupakan salah satu produk yang mengandung zat adiktif yang dapat menimbulkan kecanduan.

Oleh karena itu, bila konsumen di Indonesia, khususnya mereka yang menjadi para perokok aktif, bisa mendapatkan informasi yang sesuai dan lengkap mengenai produk alternatif tembakau lainnya, seperti rokok elektronik, diharapkan setidaknya mereka bisa mempertimbangkan pilihan yang lebih baik. Bila para konsumen mendapatkan informasi yang lengkap mengenai bahaya rokok konvensional yang dibakar, dan bahwa produk rokok elektronik jauh lebih aman daripada rokok konvensional, tidak mustahil sebagian besar dari mereka akan berpindah ke produk yang lebih aman.

Originally published here

Smoking bans don’t work – nor will cracking down on vape and cigarette sales

The World Health Organisation’s ‘Tobacco Free Initiative’ aims to speed up the gradual transition to a smoke-free world.

And yet, for some reason, it is also opposed to vaping, the safe alternative to smoking which is the best tool we have for helping people quit cigarettes.

It is clear, then, that the WHO doesn’t actually care about making us healthier. In reality, it just wants to accumulate more political control and centralise power over health policy.

Read the full article here

Why the WHO is wrong about vaping

The health institution’s anti-vaping approach set out in its latest report on the global tobacco pandemic is scientifically unjustified and will cost lives.

Last week, the World Health Organisation published yet another report which spreads fake news and false myths about vaping.  Despite the tool being recognised as 95 percent less harmful than conventional smoking, the WHO’s scientifically unjustified vaping witch-hunt could cost millions of lives.

Among the worn-out and debunked theories peddled by the WHO report ‘on the global tobacco epidemic 2021: New and Emerging Products’ is the so-called gateway effect theory, which suggests that vaping leads to smoking. This dangerous and misleading theory has long since been disproven by numerous studies, as well as nationwide case studies, such as in England where upwards of 50,000 smokers are using vapes as a gateway out of (not into) smoking every year.

“Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.”

Vaping has also proven to be more effective than other quitting tools. A 2019 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was twice as effective as nicotine-replacement products in helping smokers quit. Vape flavours – continuously demonised by the WHO – have also shown to be crucial in helping smokers quit. Vapers that use flavours are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes.

Besides being riddled with biased anti-vaping scaremongering and false claims, the entire direction of travel set out in the latest WHO report is nonsensical. Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.

They clearly find it more important to fall into line with the narrow-minded ‘quit or die’ approach trumpeted by the WHO’s billionaire sponsors, like Mike Bloomberg. The reality is that if the world follows the WHO’s lead, fewer smokers will quit and more will die as a consequence.

The WHO systematically ignores the wealth of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of vaping, not to mention the first-hand experience of millions of vapers. Unfortunately, this anti-vaping approach has spill over effects to other jurisdictions – especially to low- and middle-income countries, but also the European Union.

For example, both Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and a vape flavour ban in the Netherlands mirror the WHO recommendations – and are extremely dangerous for that reason. In 2007, nearly a quarter of the Dutch population smoked daily. That number went down to 16 percent in 2018 and continues to drop. However, with the new Dutch vape flavour ban in place, this positive trend might quickly reverse. According to newly published research by the Consumer Choice Center, the ban will drive over 250 thousand adults back to smoking.

“The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.”

The same is true for the EU Beating Cancer plan. Smoking-induced cancer claims nearly 700,000 lives each year in the EU. But instead of fostering life-saving innovation, the EU has opened the door to flavour bans and tax increases which would deprive millions of smokers of the opportunity to stop smoking once and for all. The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.

Restricting or banning access to vaping will do nothing but cost lives, and the WHO and the EU – both as a bloc and at member state levels – will soon learn this painful lesson if they keep ignoring science and consumers. 

Originally published here

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