AMBULANCE TODAY: May 31st marks World No Tobacco Day. This year the World Health Organization highlights “tobacco and heart disease” and pledges to highlight policies that help to reduce tobacco consumption.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Managing Director, Fred Roeder, applauds the WHO for its focus on fighting cardiovascular diseases and the health impact of tobacco consumption, but points out the WHO missed an opportunity to promote effective policies reducing the health risks of tobacco consumption.

“There is absolutely no doubt that smoking tobacco is harmful for your health. But technological progress in less-harmful nicotine consumption has led to the emergence of electronic cigarettes, the popularity of snus, and heat not burn devices. However, the fact that these technologies are up to 95% less harmful than the traditional cigarette has not made it to the top floor of the Geneva-based WHO,” said Roeder.

“Instead of embracing harm reduction similar to its strategies when it comes to fighting Tuberculosis or sexually transmittable diseases, the WHO promotes policy such as plain packaging as an effective way to improve smokers’ health. The data clearly shows that e-cigs and snus are less harmful and help improve public health. On the other hand, the evidence on plain packaging shows the opposite: smoking rates after the introduction of this policy in the UK and France actually went up.

“If the WHO wants to take public health seriously they’d support policies that work instead of not pushing the same old failed policies over and over again,” said Roeder.

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