Business & Politics

World Health Organization Labelled The ‘Enemy of Vaping’ Ahead of COP9

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Lives are at risk because the World Health Organization allows ‘fanatics and prohibitionists’ to dictate its tobacco regulation policy.

The World Health Organization has been accused of ‘going off the rails’ with its radical anti-vaping policies, ahead of a key international summit on tobacco control.

The London-based Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) described the WHO as the ‘enemy of vaping’ and warned it had the potential to undermine the huge advances made by the UK.

It hosted an online forum with a four-strong panel of experts to discuss the implications of a major WHO global tobacco control summit, to be held in secret in November.

The IEA said the forthcoming COP9 conference posed a significant threat to the United Kingdom’s successful approach to harm reduction policy.

It added: The WHO is increasingly, and against the clear evidence, positioning itself as an enemy of vaping.

“The UK is a world leader in tobacco harm reduction, and a significant reason for this is our comparatively liberal approach to vaping products and e-cigarettes.”

Christopher Snowdon, the IEA’s Head of Lifestyle Economics, said there was no excuse for excluding the media and the public from such an important online event.

“The WHO should be encouraging the displacement of smoking by vaping and it is both shocking and extraordinary how resistant it is to that message.”

He urged vapers, nicotine-users, smokers and the media to ‘closely examine’ the international body’s approach to tobacco and nicotine regulation to understand the huge damage it could do.

Snowdon said: This is an organisation that has gone off the rails.

Sadly, on this particular issue, the WHO has been taken over by a few fanatics and prohibitionists.

They put out reports and statements anonymously, without accountability. They ignore the science and even the EU is paying attention to their unevidenced statements and tweets.

Snowdon added: COP9 will deal with decisions that are going to reverberate around the world and yet it will be totally secret…we won’t even know what’s being said.

We need to bring people who really get tobacco harm reduction to this event so they can at least put forward a positive case in this rather murky conference which has big implications for many countries.

He compared it to the COP26 climate conference in London where the media has full access to stream and broadcast proceedings live around the world.

The COP9 conference is particularly important because the UK will be able to send its own independent delegation to the event now that it has left the EU.

Snowdon said: It would be genuine global leadership for the UK to use its position as an independent country to take a stand against the madness of the WHO…to say, ‘we know the science and we are the success story.’

They’ll be on the right side of history by doing so.

Snowdon was also highly critical of the WHO’s plans for a nicotine-free world saying he could see no ‘ethical or health justification’ for such a policy.

This unaccountable, largely anonymous global organisation wants to move to a nicotine-free world without any real debate…and I’m not sure whether the WHO has displayed enough competence to move us towards that kind of target, he said.

You might think that these are the finest scientists in the world, but they’re not, they’re just people who got into the WHO.

“They’re not particularly distinguished and, in the case of tobacco and vaping, they’re people who have an enormous platform that is totally disproportionate to their knowledge of the subject.”

Matt Ridley, Vice-chair of the APPG on Vaping said he was shocked at the WHO’s anti-vaping stance.

He said countries like Britain with good quality regulatory standards were almost certainly saving lives on a huge scale and urged the WHO to include vapers in the COP9 discussions.

Ridley said: The WHO should be encouraging the displacement of smoking by vaping and it is both shocking and extraordinary how resistant it is to that message.

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