Public health and vaping industry advocates have accused The World Health Organization (WHO) of hypocrisy after journalists and members of the public were removed from a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) conference.
The organisation’s own guidelines state that “transparency of all communications is essential to ensure the credibility and trust of WHO information, advice and guidance.”
Delegates voted to ban the public and the media from observing the proceedings and plans to live-stream the event were scrapped.
Harm-reduction advocates from around the world including Sarah Jakes of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) took to Twitter to criticise the move.
— Sarah J (@Twigolet) October 3, 2018
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) who represent 36 organisations including the NNA were blocked from attending the conference and protested the ban.
— INNCOorg (@INNCOorg) October 2, 2018
Experts from around the world have descended on Geneva to discuss the future of tobacco control with a view to achieving ‘a healthier and sustainable world’.
The WHO’s own Tobacco Product Regulation Basic Handbook acknowledges that “nicotine is delivered through products that present a continuum of risk, and is most harmful when delivered through combusted products.”
However, Vera daCosta e Silva, head of the secretariat of WHO FCTC, was quoted as calling the principle of harm-reduction ‘unfounded’.