WHO’s Latest Assault Could Destroy Vaping As We Know It

Early reports suggest the World Health Organisation (WHO) is about to launch a new assault on vaping.  

Indeed, The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) has identified proposals that are likely to destroy vaping as we know it. 

What’s more, member states like the UK are bound by law to apply the proposals. 

In this post we’ll cover some of the worst proposals, and what the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) suggest we do about it. 

What is The WHO proposing? 
Demanding that vaping and tobacco products are treated and taxed equally

The WHO will redefine vapour from vaping devices as cigarette smoke. 

That’s despite the fact that vapour is not smoke, and carries far fewer toxins and heavy metals than cigarette smoke.

Other proposed measures include:

·taxing vaping products on the same level as cigarettes
·applying cigarette-style packaging and advertising restrictions
·banning vaping in smoking-prohibited areas. 

Why is this harmful? 
Treating vaping the same as smoking sends a clear message to smokers; there’s no point in switching because vaping is just as bad as smoking. 

It also goes against the evidence provided by multiple UK government reviews, which concluded that vaping is much less harmful than smoking. 

Taxing vaping products on the same level as cigarettes will also massively increase the cost of vaping.

The net result is likely to be higher levels of smoking. 

A ban on non-tobacco flavours & open-system devices
While the report admits flavours can help with switching smokers to vaping, prohibition of flavours is recommended to prevent vaping from appealing to minors. 

In addition, the report recommends banning ‘open-system’ vaping devices (those that allow the user to add their own e-liquid). 

Why is this harmful? 
Having a range of flavour options is essential to both helping smokers switch to vaping and to prevent them relapsing back to cigarettes. 

Studies have backed this up, suggesting that vapers who start with a non-tobacco vape juice flavour are more likely to successfully switch to vaping. 

Other studies have shown that when flavours are banned, smoking rates increase. 

This is also true of banning open system devices – the removal of choice limits the appeal of switching. 

It also increases harm to the environment, as open devices create far less waste than closed devices like disposable vapes.

A ban on nicotine salts
The report recommends that manufacturers ‘restrict manipulation of nicotine concentration and form.’ This means that nicotine salts would be banned.

The report acknowledges the more effective delivery of nicotine offered by nicotine salt e-liquids, making them more attractive to non-smokers and leading to a new generation of nicotine addicts.

Why is this harmful? 
While there’s little evidence to show that nicotine salts deliver nicotine more effectively, they remain incredibly important for smokers looking to switch to devices. 

Traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid carries a harsher throat hit that is unpalatable for many vapers, especially at higher nicotine levels. 

Nicotine salts have a smoother throat hit. Having the two options means more people can successfully stop smoking and start vaping. 

What’s more, many people have been introduced to vaping via disposable devices, which use nicotine salts. Many disposable users find it very difficult to switch to regular e-liquid. 

If nicotine salts are banned, many of these people could relapse to smoking.

Why is the WHO doing this?
The WHO is supposedly bound by its remit to embrace tobacco harm reduction. 

However, it has been consistently anti-vaping. 

That may be because the anti-tobacco strategy is funded and written by the Bloomberg Foundation, which has poured over a hundred million dollars into anti-vaping campaigns and media. 

When will it happen? 
The next WHO conference on tobacco control takes place in Panama this November. 

While the full agenda will not be available until September, the proposals we have covered have been reported by the New Nicotine Alliance. 

The net impact will likely benefit sales of cigarettes while penalising the reduced-harm alternatives that the UK Gov says are at least 95% less harmful.

What can we do to prevent this? 
Louise Ross, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, told us: 

“It is vital that consumers, researchers, policy makers and in fact anyone concerned with public health make their voice heard via their MP, to prevent loss of access to reduced risk products, which will otherwise result in smoking rates rising.”

Louise suggests the following actions:

Write to your local MP 
Write to your local MP, express your objections to these threats, insist the UK stands up for vaping and other alternatives to smoking and ask them to pass your concerns on to the Government.

You can find details for your local MP here or message them via writetothem.com. 

Write to the UK’s FCTC ‘Focal Point’ 
The UK has a designated ‘focal point’ for its conference delegation who is responsible for passing information between the FCTC Bureau and the national government. 

Send an email to Alison Walker at healthybehaviours@dhsc.gov.uk, the UK’s ‘focal point’, to request any updates, meeting minutes, and other information about the COP10 process, as well as to learn about the current plans for communication between the FCTC Bureau and the UK government.

Tell your story, be polite and persistent 
In both of the above actions, share your personal story re: the benefits of reduced harm products. If you do not receive answers, be persistent.

Continue to request updates on COP10 developments and emphasise the importance of your concerns and why you wish for them to be taken seriously.

Share your correspondence with the NNA 
Sharing your requests and responses from both your MP and the FCTC Focal Point will help the NNA assess what is happening and to properly advise both supporters and consumers on how to head off the WHO’s threats. 

Wrapping up
Since vaping became popular, smoking rates have plummeted amongst both adults and children. 

While there are concerns that more people could start using nicotine, we have to bear in mind that all the evidence suggests that vaping is both less addictive and far less harmful than smoking. 

And while experimentation is taking place, much of it does not translate into regular use. 

On the other hand, in countries where bans and restrictions have been implemented, declines in smoking rates have flatlined or even reversed. 

So let’s not let a secretive, unelected body which is dominated by vested interests take vaping away from us.